By Chris Yow
SPRING HILL — Summit coach Jenny Stevenson was excited when her team’s bats got off to a hot start. She has preached to her team all season about the importance of taking an early advantage, and the Spartan women heeded that plea in a 9-2 win over Independence in District 11-AAA play Monday.
A five-run first inning, helped along by a Lady Eagle error and hit-by-pitch, was exactly what Stevenson has wanted from her team. Three singles and a sacrifice bunt helped bring in a pair of runs to start the game. The error and HBP then loaded the bases again for Hannah Sundberg, who drove in two more runs before a fifth run scored on a groundout.
“We jokingly call ourselves a sixth-inning team,” Stevenson said. “But I was really proud of the way they came out and put the ball in play. We wanted to go into the box and be patient early, and our girls did that.”
Coming off a win over Brentwood, Independence was hoping to build momentum heading into the district tournament. Coach Shane Buchanan said when his team plays mistake-free, they are going to be a difficult matchup for anyone.
“When we play smart, we are a good team,” he said. “Tonight we had a few errors early that cost us a few runs and they took advantage.”
Independence committed five errors in the game. Morgan Brown gave up nine runs in four innings, but only three of them earned. Summit had seven hits in the game, including two each from Abby O’Reilly and Ashlyn Easley. Easley drove in a pair of runs as well.
Summit led 9-0 after the third inning, and while pleased with her team’s early offensive output, Stevenson said the zeroes across the final four frames were not the trend she wanted to see.
“We can’t get comfortable just because we came out hot,” she said. “We have to have that killer instinct, and tonight we didn’t have it.”
Hailey Rodriguez pitched two perfect innings of relief for Indy. Brown was 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead Indy at the plate.
“I thought we pitched pretty well at times, but we have to put it all together,” Buchanan said. “If we play every part of the game to our potential, we can be very tough to beat.
“They wanted to win a little more than us. You just have to tip your cap.”
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports