From freshmen to seniors, McGavock had plenty of stars Wednesday when the Raiders clinched the District 12-AAA softball regular-season title.
McGavock rolled past rival Overton 12-2 with some big bats to back up senior pitcher Keely Hunt, who scattered seven hits and struck out six. The victory gave the host Raiders a perfect 12-0 district record and a two-game advantage over Overton (10-2). McGavock also nailed down the top seed for the district tournament, which opens in two weeks at Hunters Lane.
Two district games remain for each team. McGavock (14-9 overall) holds the tiebreaker by virtue of the fact that it swept the two meetings with Overton, which likely will finish second.
“This feels great, finishing first in district again,” Hunt, who also was the winning pitcher in McGavock’s earlier win over Overton (13-9 on April 8), said. “I tried to keep the ball down and change speeds. That was my best game.”
She was not alone in that assessment.
“That may well have been the best game Keely has pitched in her four years at McGavock,” coach Mike Dennis said. “She’s not overpowering by any means, but she locates the ball well, and she was outstanding (Wednesday).”
Hunt had plenty of offensive help, notably:
• Junior Hayley Moon belted her fourth home run of the season, a towering shot to right-center, and scored three runs.
• Freshman catcher Destinee White had a three-run triple in the third, which broke open the game and gave McGavock a 6-1 lead. Her freshman classmate Courtney Gearlds scored twice.
• Sophomore Kelsey Bryson had a two-run single in a five-run sixth.
• Junior Destiny Patton scored two runs and hit a sacrifice fly.
“It was a good feeling, seeing that ball go out,” Moon, who was cut from the team her freshman year but worked hard to get into the lineup and has had two excellent seasons since, said. “It’s really good to have the support from your teammates. Every one of us roots for each other.”
One of the big McGavock storylines this season is the emergence of White, a top-notch catcher, who quickly moved into the lineup as a ninth-grader.
“I’ve been catching for five years, mostly with my travel team, the Wilson Wreckers,” White said. “It’s a position where it keeps you in the game. You have to be alert all the time and see the entire field. Having played there before, it gave me a chance to start right away.”
McGavock’s pursuit of an undefeated district season includes games Thursday against Hillwood and Monday against Antioch.
It also came at the expense of a non-district matchup, which would have provided some good experience for the younger players on the team. The game with Overton originally was scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed by rain.
“We had to reschedule the Overton game for (Wednesday) and as a result, had to cancel a game with LaVergne, a really good team,” Dennis said. “That was disappointing because we want to play the best teams possible.”
“Two of our freshmen, Destinee and Courtney, have been very instrumental for us. Going into tournaments, we have a pretty good hitting team, we play pretty good defense.”
Overton (15-3 overall) scored its runs when Dominique Hannah and Tiffany Smith smacked back-to-back doubles in the third. Hannah added an RBI single in the fifth.