By Chris Yow
SPRING HILL — There has been no shortage of drama when Summit and Dickson County have met on the softball field in 2021, and Wednesday night was no different.
Thanks to a two-out line drive to center field from Kate Peters and a clutch pitching performance from Ashlan Sensing, the Lady Cougars earned the Region 6-AAA championship on the road at Summit, winning a 2-1 decision.
Summit coach Jenny Stevenson said in each game of the season series, it felt like one hit or play could make the difference in the game.
“They got the timely hit tonight,” she said. “Normally it’s us who gets them, but credit (Sensing) because she shut us down tonight.”
As previously stated, however, the ending would not be without drama. Summit’s Dixie Corbin, who was hit in the elbow by a fastball in the fourth inning, stepped to the plate in the sixth with a runner on and two outs, her team down a run. She saw a changeup and belted it to left field. Dickson County’s Lily Proctor ran back, turned to her left and then back right before reaching out and making the catch near the fence to end the inning.
“Dixie hit a home run earlier this season like that, and I thought she had another one,” Stevenson said. “But (Proctor) made a great play on the ball.”
Corbin said the elbow wasn’t bothering her too much during the at-bat, thanks in part to a protective shield she wore.
“Thank goodness I had the EvoShield on, but it’s still sore,” she said. “I hit that home run a couple games ago and I thought I had another one. If it had been a fastball, I think it would have gone over.”
Summit scored its lone run in the inning Corbin was hit. That hit-by-pitch moved Ashlyn Easley to second and brought Claudette Runk to the plate. In the top of the second inning, Runk was the cutoff who made a perfect throw to home plate that saw Hannah Sundburg tag out a hustling Peters trying to score from first base.
With a chance to tie the game, Runk sent a hard ground ball to the shortstop where it took a favorable bounce for the hitter and allowed Easley to score, making it a 1-1 game.
With the game tied and one out in the fifth inning, starting pitcher Lily Kate Richards issued a walk to the nine-hole hitter and Stevenson made the move to go with Elena Escobar the remainder of the game.
“(Dickson County) has seen them both this year, and we wanted to make the change when we got to the third time through the lineup,” she said. “It wasn’t anything Lily Kate did, we just wanted to change it up.”
Escobar gave up no hits in the final 2 2/3, striking out a pair. The earned run on the bases was credited to Richards, who took the loss. She gave up just two runs on two hits and struck out two.
Peters’ hit was the dagger in the sixth, while Sensing struck out a pair in the seventh and got a ground ball to end the game. Sensing went the distance for the Lady Cougars in the win.
Up Next: With the loss, Summit will have to travel to Springfield, a 10-3 winner over Clarksville. The Spartans were eliminated by the Jackets two years ago in the sectional round, but Stevenson said she is confident her team will be ready.
“We’ve seen their pitcher, and we are going to work on what she does tomorrow and get back out there,” she said. “I’m confident in this team, and I don’t go into any game with these girls I don’t think I can win.”
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports