By Chris Yow
COLUMBIA — Summer Hooten slid into third base with a triple after both Saviya Morgan and Tashiya Lyles crossed the plate to give her Columbia team a lead in the sixth inning, and she added an insurance run when she scored on a Addison Maurer bunt and error. The Lady Lions then staved off a late rally and earned a tough 4-3 road win over Zion Christian on Friday.
Zion loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, but managed to get just one run across the plate. Coach Russ Adcox said Columbia just made the plays necessary to win.
“We hit the ball well, but they made plays late in the game, and sometimes you just have to tip your cap to them,” he said.
Leading 2-1 going into the sixth inning, freshman pitcher Ashleia Coble found herself in some trouble when she walked the leadoff hitter and then took a hard line drive off the glove that allowed Lyles to reach and advance to second base, setting up the Hooten triple. Coble then fumbled the Maurer bunt, which allowed Hooten to score in the sixth.
Visibly frustrated with herself, Coble was able to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, after the Lady Eagles loaded the bases and got one run back, Coble struck out to end the inning. Despite that, she returned to the circle in the seventh and delivered a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
“People forget Ashleia is a freshman,” Adcox said. “She pushed through it, came out and threw a perfect inning. That’s what we need her to do.”
Over their previous three games, Zion Christian scored 50 runs, but Hooten was able to find success in the circle for coach Hannah Thomason-Cole’s team.
“Summer pitched really well today for us,” Thomason-Cole said. “We have to have her pitching well for us to be successful going forward this season.”
Being able to earn the come-from-behind win is what Cole said she was most excited to see, as there have been times where her team may not have been able to find a way late to get back ahead.
“I’m proud of our team for pulling it out today,” Thomason-Cole said. “Historically, when a team is able to have some success against us early, we shut down. We didn’t do that today, and I’m proud of them for that.”
Thomason-Cole, who took over the head coaching duties just days before the season began, said the team is still finding out new things about each other.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” she said. “We have tried a lot of people in different spots to try and find a lineup that works well together. We have to keep working to find that team before we get into the district tournament.”
For Adcox and Zion Christian, while losing is never the goal, finding the silver lining is important for his young team. A one-run loss to the largest public school in Maury County is encouraging to many of his players.
“We like playing local schools, and we scheduled all the schools in Maury County this year,” he said. “Our school has 125 kids in it, so they’re a little bigger than us, but our girls came out here and competed and at the end of the day, (Columbia Central) made the plays.”
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports