The Lady Bucs had 20 hits which resulted in a 23-2 beatdown of the Lady Pirates in five innings.
Surprisingly scoreless after one inning, Mollee Cohee opened the second inning with a double. Seven hits and 10 runs later, University High was well on its way to clinching a sectional berth.
The Lady Bucs (32-8) will host North Greene (11-13) today at 5 p.m. in the Region 1-A final. Besides the region championship, the winner will get to host a sectional game on Friday, while the loser will go on the road.
As for Monday, no one had bigger numbers than Taylor Treadway who ended 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
“I feel like every game we come out confident,” Treadway said. “We try to get a big lead early and hopefully relax later in the game, although you always have to play like you’re down.”
They were certainly playing that way in the second and third innings, holding a 20-0 lead by the time they were finished. Starting pitcher Tanner Horton had six strikeouts and had only given up one hit through those first three innings.
The biggest damage, however, was at the plate.
Belle Bright finished 3-for-4 as did Madi Freeman, who also ended with three runs scored. It’s been a strong return for Bright, the Lady Bucs’ starting catcher, who suffered a midseason thumb injury. She won District 1-A MVP honors last week and followed it up with Monday’s outburst.
She explained what it has meant to be back on the field after missing a chunk of her junior season.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Bright said. “Like I hated to be standing there and watching all the games. But, I feel really confident for tomorrow and Friday.”
So does head coach Keith Jeffers, who saw big efforts up and down the lineup.
Lead-off Barrett Wherry went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Cohee was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Besides her work in the circle, Horton was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Even in the nine-hole, the Lady Bucs got great production. Miranda Honeycutt reached base all three at-bats and parlayed those into three runs scored.
“The bad thing about this time of year, you mess up one game and it’s over,” Jeffers said. “But, we’ve been hitting the ball real well for about two weeks. Hopefully, we can keep up with that.”
Washburn got its first run when Payton Simmons took a high pitch and drove it into center field. The Lady Pirates added a second run in the fourth, but the Lady Bucs responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning after Kutu Hall led off with a double.
Focus has been a key word bantered around the UH dugout. Jeffers emphasized this is not the time of year any team can afford to take a game or even an inning off.
“It goes back to if you have a bad day, your season is over,” he said. “We want to keep going and win our next game so we can host that sectional game. We want to host it. We don’t want to travel.”
Follow Jeff Birchfield on Twitter. Like him on Facebook.