The Brentwood bats exploded in the first inning Wednesday, notching seven runs in the stanza that ended with a 10-0 blitz of Summit in five innings as the Lady Bruins captured the Region 6-AAA Regional softball title at home in Granny White Park.
It was a performance that pleased coach Erica Powell heading into Friday’s sectional game against Beech.
“Before the game, I challenged them. We haven’t been hitting well," she said. "I told to challenge themselves before the game, act like this was a live or die situation, be more aggressive, fight to get on base. And they did.
“Early runs are huge because if you score early and make a mistake, you can recover.”
Early runs they got.
It started when catcher Ansley Casillas opened the game with a single to left and ended 20 minutes later when the junior slammed one hard to the right field fence for a bases clearing, three-RBI triple to close the scoring.
“We were ready, we came out strong and wanted to finish strong,” Casillas said after the game. “I knew I needed to get 60-feet and I knew it was time to get my bat going.”
It was a tough day for Summit starter Taylor Penning.
The youngster gave up three singles, a double and a walk before being lifted for Carly Scott. Scott got off to a rough start, too, walking one, hitting two straight batters and giving up Casillas’ triple before retiring the side.
Scott was relieved in the middle of the second after the bases loaded up on a hit batsman, a walk and a defensive error. Replacement Cheyenne Scott, who would finish the contest in the circle, gave up a run when she hit Frances Horn, the next to last batter of the inning.
Summit tried to get something going in the fourth, when Kaitlyn Woodside stroked a double down the left field line but was left hanging. In the fifth, McKinley Jackson reached on a two-out error and Mia Apple followed with a nice single, but Allison Knox’s long foul to left was snagged by Indy Cockrill to end the contest.
Stopping there was fine with Powell.
“Summit’s a great team and every game we’ve played with them has been close, so this is huge," she said. "To me it was important to win in five innings because I didn’t want to give them two more at bats because they never give up.”
Summit coach Jenny Stevenson said her Lady Spartans just never could get the bats going.
“We’ve come from behind in plenty of games, but we couldn’t string together a couple of big hits like we normally do," Stevenson said. "Hannah (Koenig) did a good job of keeping us off bases and they made adjustments at the plate against our pitchers.”
Koenig pitched all five innings for Brentwood, striking out three while giving up just two singles and a double.
While Koenig was doing her usual thing, it was the Brentwood outfield that shined Wednesday. Cockrill made a great catch to end the game, but it was the last out of the first inning, a diving catch by Frances Horn.
The loss sends Summit on a long road trip on Thursday, traveling to Region 5-AAA champion Henry County in Paris, Tenn., for a sectional contest. The game, set for a 6 p.m. first pitch, begins less than 24 hours after the completion of the regional title game and with a three hour drive to get there.
Stevenson knows the focus must shift quickly.
“We don’t have time to wallow in this loss," she said. "We’re going to learn from this one and get ready to play again. We have too much softball left in us; the fight will come back tomorrow, and we will be ready.”
Brentwood will get an extra day of rest before facing Beech on Friday. Powell knows a few things about Beech, the school she left to take the Brentwood job.
“It’s the first time I’ve played them since I left there," Powell said. "I know some of the girls, gave them lessons when they were little. I think it will be a great game. They have one girl who has hit 20 home runs and another who hit six last week in the district tournament alone, so they’ve got good hitters.
“I’m very excited. Mostly because we get to play at home on Friday.”
Brentwood 10, Summit 0, Region 6-AAA championship
Summit – 000 00X X – 0 3 3
Brentwood – 712 0XX X – 10 7 2
Penning, Carly Scott (2), Cheyenne Scott (3) and Knox; Koenig and Casillas.
WP – Koenig. LP – Penning.