HENDERSONVILLE Most freshmen hope to get a hit in their first varsity softball game.
Beech High freshman third baseman Carly Sperlich did a bit better, hitting two home runs in her debut to boost the Lady Buccaneers to a 12-2, five-inning victory over visiting Portland in the two teams’ season opener on Tuesday afternoon at Veterans Park.
Sperlich’s round-trippers were solo shots in the first and fifth innings – both over the right-centerfield fence – and she scored three runs in the contest.
“I definitely didn’t know it was going over,” Sperlich said of her first home run. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
The Lady Buccaneers scored six runs in the second inning off of Portland senior starting pitcher Allie Tomlinson, taking advantage of a pair of Lady Panther errors.
“We worked a lot on not looking at good pitches,” Beech head coach Monica Braswell said. “We’ve been saying that we’re going to swing at good pitches. That came through for us.”
Sperlich reached on an error at first base, allowing two runs to score for a 6-2 lead. Beech led 7-2 after two innings of play.
“They scored five runs off of (errors), and it shouldn’t have been that,” Portland head coach Vanessa Tomlinson said. “It should have been 2-2 after that inning.”
Portland’s runs came in the top of the first inning off of Beech starting pitcher Abbie Vaughn, as senior Hollie Kepley;s two-out single drove in classmates Keely McGee and Bethany Bennett.
From that point forward, the Portland bats went silent, only managing two hits the rest of the way.
“We’ve just got to keep hitting,” Vanessa Tomlinson said. “We started off hitting, but we can’t rely on Keely to be our only hitter.”
Vaughn was in the circle in place of senior Ashley Graves for the Lady Buccaneers, who will be out for at least a couple of weeks with an undisclosed injury.
Sophomore Kaylor Chaffin and freshman Megan Larue also drove in a pair of runs for Beech, with Larue’s fifth-inning single scoring Chaffin to end the contest via the mercy rule (a 10-run lead after 4 ½ innings with the home team leading).
Beech was originally slated to travel to Portland for the contest, but wet field conditions in Portland forced a venue change. Portland will host the second meeting on April 7.
Both teams are scheduled to take part in the Commando Classic at Drakes Creek Park this weekend.
Reach Chris Brooks at email@example.com or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
PORTLAND 200 00 – 2 4 3
BEECH 160 23 – 12 12 0
Allie Tomlinson, Paige Martin (4), MacKenzie Evans (5) and Hollie Kepley; Abbie Vaughn, Mackenzie Williams (5) and Layce Milliken. WP – Vaughn (1-0). LP – Tomlinson (0-1). Home runs: Beech – Carly Sperlich 2 (2).