By Lawson Smith
MURFREESBORO — After a tough defeat in extra innings against Farragut on Thursday night, Summit looked to rebound in a Class AAA softball state tournament elimination game Friday morning against Coffee County.
However, it would prove to be too burdensome, as the Spartan women fell 12-4 — allowing two grand slams in the process — and ended their season against Coffee County.
Pitching was a challenge for Summit, especially without senior pitcher Elena Escobar, who was not in the lineup against the Lady Raiders after suffering an injury in the 5-1, eight-inning loss Thursday that required medical attention.
“She got cleated on a fastball and finished the game without anybody realizing what happened. So she had stitches in her knee right now,” Summit coach Jenny Stevenson said following the loss, which ended the team’s first state tourney appearance with a 25-9 record for the year.
Filling in for the North Alabama signee in the circle was senior classmate Claudette Runk, who had not pitched since her freshman year as a member of the Summit junior varsity squad.
“She hasn’t practiced pitching,” Stevenson said. “But she came to me and said, ‘Coach, if you need me to pitch I can do it’, and so it was her idea.
“I love that she was willing to be a great teammate, put herself out there for the team. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Runk found herself in the game after starting pitcher Lily Kate Richards allowed four runs over four innings — one on a bases-loaded walk. The senior was unable to escape the situation, as Justus Turner’s grand slam extended Coffee County’s lead to 8-2.
After Runk allowed two base hits and a walk in the top of the fifth, Richards resumed pitching duties. Kaitlyn Davis answered with Coffee County’s second grand slam of the game for a 12-3 advantage, and the Spartans only managed a single run in the seventh.
With the win, Coffee County (34-6-1) is set to face Farragut at 3 p.m. for the state title. The Lady Admirals defeated Coffee County 2-0 Wednesday in the second round of the tournament, before the Lady Raiders bounced back with three straight victories.
Runk, Hannah Sundburg and Aldyn Mathis each had a pair of hits for Summit against the Coffee County tandem of Davis and Keri Munn — the latter a Middle Tennessee State signee.