HENDERSONVILLE In a game where timely hits didn’t come very often, Morgan Burton came through at the right time.
The Hendersonville High junior’s two-out, pinch-hit ground ball found its way through the infield to drive in senior Carley Carlisle and give the Lady Commandos a 5-4, 10-inning victory over visiting Beech on Tuesday evening at Griffin-Crandell Field.
Playing under international tiebreaker rules (allowing the last hitter from the previous inning to start on second base) in the 10th inning, Beech (19-16-1 overall, 10-3 in District 9-AAA) was unable to score.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, Burton pinch hit for Hannah Atkinson and hit a 3-1 pitch through the right side of the infield to score Carlisle from third base.
“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I need to hit because we need this,’” Burton said. “I went up there with a clear mind.”
Burton’s hit came off Beech senior Ashley Graves, who allowed one run over seven innings of relief. Graves pitched out of jams in the fifth (a bases-loaded situation) and seventh innings (stranding two runners on base).
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” Lady Buccaneer head coach Monica Braswell said. “Hendersonville … they’re a great team this year. They have two senior pitchers that are very, very good. They hit the ball better tonight than they did when we played them last week (in Beech’s 4-0 victory on April 26).”
Hendersonville (31-12-1, 10-3) scored three runs in the third inning off Beech senior starting pitcher Abbie Vaughn to take a 4-3 lead.
Lady Bucs sophomore Kennedy McCurry singled in classmate Natalie Lankster in the fifth to tie the game.
Beech would have clinched the top seed in the District 9-AAA Tournament with the victory and can still do so with a win at Station Camp on Wednesday.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
Beech 012 010 000 0 – 4 7 2
Hendersonville 103 000 000 1 – 5 8 0
Abbie Vaughn, Ashley Graves (3) and Layce Milliken; Hannah Thompson, Carley Carlisle (6) and Matti Byrd. WP – Carlisle (20-7). LP – Graves (1-1-1). Records: Beech 19-16-1 overall, 10-3 in District 9-AAA; Hendersonville 31-12-1, 10-3.