MURFREESBORO — University High rallied from four runs down for a chance at its final at-bat, but came up just short in Tuesday’s opening round of the TSSAA Class A softball championships.
The Lady Bucs (27-14) dropped a 4-3 decision Oliver Springs at McKnight Fields after falling behind by four runs and not having a single hit against Lady Bobcats pitcher Courtney Jones through five innings.
UH scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, and loaded the bases in the seventh, only to see Oliver Springs end the game with a fielder’s choice.
“I will be honest this is pretty disappointing,” University High head coach Keith Jeffers said afterwards. “We had that (third) inning when they scored three runs and we had a couple of errors. We blew it on that inning. We play a solid seven-inning game and we win this game.”
After Jones was untouchable for the first five innings, the Lady Bucs tagged her for five hits and three runs over the last two innings.
Taylor Treadway had a hard-hit ball to center field to score UH’s first two runs, and Mollee Cohee followed with a RBI double.
In the final inning, UH loaded the bases with Sarah Higginbottom and Tanner Horton each providing singles. Treadway hit a ball up the middle on the final at-bat, but Oliver Springs shortstop Emily Griffith made the play in the field to end the game.
“We came back and never gave up,” Jeffers said. “We just didn’t hit it until too late. Basically, we needed to put together few more hits earlier in the game. We had bases loaded. It just didn’t work out this time.”
Jones recorded 13 strikeouts for the game, but impressed her Oliver Springs coach Matt Headden the most with the poise she showed in holding on for the victory.
“Courtney has been our only pitcher this year, but she’s stepped up many, many times,” Headden said. “She’s so calm, cool and collected in that circle. I’ve never seen her get rattled.”
University High was living dangerously with Oliver Springs batters on base in the top of the second and bases loaded with no outs in the top of the third.
The Lady Bucs’ defense stepped up to shut down the Lady Bobcats in the second. They got two outs in the third before Rachel Griffith ripped a bases-loaded double for a 3-0 Oliver Springs lead.
It remained that way until Macy Martin crushed a home run over left field in the sixth inning for a 4-0 Bobcats lead.
Haley Faulkner suffered the loss, giving up three runs and seven hits in four innings. Tanner Horton came in to pitch the final three innings.
The Lady Bucs will face South Fulton, a 5-1 loser against Richland, in an elimination game today at 12:30 p.m.