GALLATIN The Beech High softball team found ways to dodge the knockout punch, but defending Class AAA state champion Wilson Central delivered the final blow to the Lady Buccaneers’ season on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Wildcats led 5-0 after three innings and never trailed, handing Beech a 6-3 loss in the District 9-AAA Tournament losers bracket final at Volunteer State Community College.
“We have to show up mentally and be tougher,” Beech head coach Monica Braswell said. “We were just tight. They put so much pressure on themselves, and they still don’t realize that it’s just a game. Because we were tight, we made mistakes.”
Wilson Central (26-12) produced a two-out, two-run hit in each of the first two innings off of Beech senior Abbie Vaughn to take a 4-0 lead, and two Beech errors allowed the Lady Wildcats to post another run against Lady Buc senior pitcher Ashley Graves in the third inning.
“Abbie didn’t throw her best today,” Braswell said. “She missed some spots, and when she did, (Wilson Central) hit the ball hard. But there were also some plays that we should have made that we didn’t make that led to runs.”
The top three hitters in Beech’s order – junior Hannah Marlar, sophomore Natalie Lankster and freshman Carly Sperlich – produced two hits, but they only accounted for one run as the Lady Buccaneers left eight runners on base.
Sperlich appeared to have scored on Ashley Graves’ two-out single in the bottom of the seventh, but she was called out due to runner interference with Wilson Central’s shortstop, ending the game.
The Lady Bucs (23-18-1) lose four seniors – Graves, Vaughn, Ashton Hayden and Lacy Marlin.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors,” Braswell said. “I didn’t know that they would be able to set an example, and I didn’t know that they would be able to be great leaders … but they ended up doing that. And they’re super kids, every one of them.”
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
Wilson Central 221 001 0 – 6 11 2
Beech 002 010 0 – 3 10 3
Kaylee Richetto and Savannah Tidwell; Abbie Vaughn, Ashley Graves (3) and Layce Milliken. WP – Richetto. LP – Vaughn. Records: Wilson Central 26-12, Beech 23-18-1.