When two aces and future college softball teammates go against each other, what you might expect is an outstanding pitching duel.
That's exactly what happened Monday as Goodpasture ace Mimi Cartwright outdueled McCarley Thomas and sparked the Cougars to a nail-biting 2-1 Region 5-AA semifinal win over Lipscomb Academy at the Lipscomb Burton campus field.
With the win the Cougars advanced Wednesday's finals. The loss ended Lipscomb's season.
Cartwright and Thomas have signed with Lipscomb University and the future Bisons pitchers combined for 29 strikeouts in one of the top softball duels this season in Nashville.
"I tried to concentrate on each hitter, I knew I had to pitch well, because McCarley is a great pitcher,'' Cartwright, younger sister of ex-Goodpasture star and Lipscomb senior player Kelsey Cartwright, said. "I'm excited about our chances about getting back to state. If we all keep doing our jobs, I think we'll get there.''
Goodpasture has won nine state championships, with six runner-up finishes in the past 19 years.
Cartwright (18-4) pitched a two-hitter, struck out 14 and walked none in one of her better games of the year.
The only run she allowed was unearned when Sarah Hemmerly singled in the fifth, reached second on a wild pitch, and came all the way around when a bunt by senior Tori Schow produced a throwing error.
Cartwright struck out the next two and allowed only a two-out, seventh inning single to Schow the rest of the way.
She also was 3-for-3 at the plate, accounting for all three Cougar hits. She reached third in the seventh on a stolen base, but was stranded. In the sixth, she singled for her third hit, and Megan Morrow walked. They pulled a double steal, but the next batter struck out.
"Mimi was outstanding,'' coach Lee Phillips said. "It was a situation of having to get it done or your season is over. We've had an overall good season, we just had one little bump when we didn't play will in a tournament in Clarksville.”
Goodpasture (20-6) scored the two runs it needed — both were unearned — in the third when Reeves Parrish reached on an error and scored when Kaylin Littlejohn's grounder was thrown away. Littlejohn then scored on another error for a 2-0 lead.
Thomas (10-13), a five-year starter, was almost as good. She pitched a three-hitter, striking out 15 and walking none in her final high school game.
"We are going to be roommates in college,'' Thomas said. "[Cartwright] and I talked and joked a little about [a possible region matchup] at a recent Lipscomb game.
“She is such a good pitcher. It's sad to end the season, but I am so proud of my teammates, proud of the whole team.''
Lipscomb (15-18) won the District 10-AA championship Saturday.
"We came very far as a team, offensively, defensively and pitching,'' first-year coach Lexi Myers, former Lipscomb University assistant, said. "We were able to achieve a lot of our goals. I've learned as a head coach, you have to learn patience.”
• Greenbrier blanked Hume-Fogg 10-0 in its semifinal game and will visit Goodpasture in the Region 5-AA finals Wednesday. It is a rematch of last week's district final, which Greenbrier won 12-0. Cartwright didn't pitch in that one.
Overton edged Franklin 2-1 to roll into Wednesday's Region 6-AAA final.
• Goodpasture’s baseball team also reached the Region 5-AA final with a 5-0 win over Lipscomb Academy. The Cougars will host Christ Presbyterian Academy, which edged White House 3-2.