MURFREESBORO – A big start and a lot of little things resulted an important first step for Goodpasture’s softball team.
The Lady Cougars (38-3-1), who have won six straight state championships, defeated Covington 8-1 in a first-round Class AA contest Tuesday.
They scored five runs in the first inning, capped by Tiffany Hibbs’ two run single, and then helped sophomore pitcher Cheyanne Knepper when they recorded outs three different of runners on the base paths.
“We talk about how everybody has a role, and it’s the little things that we do right (that make a difference),” coach Lee Phillips said. “We talk about hitting strikes, throwing strikes and making plays.”
Knepper, who improved to 30-1 in her first season as a go-to starter, struck out 13 and allowed just four hits.
The first batter she walked was thrown out trying to steal second. The only player who drove in a run against her, Covington’s Kelly Sage, was thrown out s second as she tried to take an extra-base after her RBI single. Then, with two on and two out in the top of the sixth, third baseman Mackenzie Leding fielded a slow roller, faked a throw to first and tagged out the runner who was baited into taking a big turn around third.
Senior shortstop Kelsey Cartwright and second baseman Brittany Elmore each had three hits. Cartwright ended up a triple shy of the cycle. She had a single in the first, a double in the sixth and a lead-off home run in the fifth. She scored every time she got on base.
“We wanted to get off to a good start,” Phillips said. “A few years ago we came with a real good team and struggled to get out of the first round, and that might have been – some people think – the best team we’ve ever had. So it was important to get off to a good start.”
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