HENDERSONVILLE – One of the four Division II-Class AA softball participants punched their ticket to Murfreesboro for the third straight year on Friday evening.
Pope John Paul II swept visiting Father Ryan in a doubleheader, winning game one 11-1 in six innings and finishing off the nightcap with a 15-4 victory, also in six innings.
Senior pitcher Chelsy Stephenson was the winning pitcher in both games, striking out four in four innings in the opener and racking up 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory to close the series.
“It’s mixed emotions, for sure,” Stephenson said. “The fact that we’re going to state again is amazing. I love my team and I know that we’re going to go far. But the fact that it’s my last time on the JPII field is kind of heartbreaking.”
The Lady Knights (20-7) pounded out 18 hits in the opener, scoring eight runs in the second inning, all coming with two outs.
The Lady Knights scored in five of the six innings in game two, plating six runs in the third inning.
Alexis Williams went 4-for-5, driving in four runs on a single and three doubles. In the two games, she went 7-for-9, driving in five runs and scoring four.
Pope John Paul II will face the winner of St. Benedict and Harpeth Hall at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The Lady Knights, who finished runner-up in 2013, will try to win their first state championship in softball. Father Ryan finished with a 5-15 record.
In other DII-AA series, Ensworth fell twice to Baylor (10-0, 17-1) while Harpeth Hall’s series at Briarcrest was suspended and will be played Saturday.
Class AA: Creek Wood edged White House-Heritage 2-0 and Camden Central roared past Greenbrier 9-4 to both advance. Macon County suffered a 10-0 loss to Chattanooga Central.
DII-A: Ezell-Harding, Friendship Christian and Davidson Academy all advanced with substate series victories and will play in the state semifinals next week in Murfreesboro, beginning Tuesday evening.