By Kris Freeman for White House Sports
GALLATIN – With four runs in the final two innings, the North team rallied to take a 5-2 win over the South in the 2nd Annual Sumner County Middle School Softball All-Star Game on Monday at Volunteer State Community College. Click here for photo gallery.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning, the North got back-to-back one out singles from Addy Harris (White House) and Maddie Floyd (Gallatin), with the second rolling through the center fielder’s legs and to the wall to allow the tying run to score. North Most Valuable Player Jama Hoffman (Portland), who had four spectacular defensive assists and a putout at second, laid down a bunt to send in the go-ahead run for a 3-2 lead.
After Avery Doucette of Hawkins walked to start off the bottom of the sixth, Harris gunned her down stealing at second base and then LeighAnn Sanders got a huge strikeout to end the inning. Sanders would earn the save, with White House teammate Brook McCray coming on in middle innings for the win as the pitcher of record when the North took the lead.
The North squad added two more in the top of the seventh when the game’s starting pitcher, Hannah Gaines of Gallatin, doubled. She was 2-2 with a hit by pitch and scored a run. Sanders then reached on a bunt single, and runs scored when Olivia Slayton (Westmoreland) reached on a fielder’s choice and an error and then Elena Jones (White House) laid down a sacrifice bunt and Katie McCloud (Portland) reached on an error.
With a 5-2 lead, Sanders shook off a lead off single in the seventh from Jaci Kate Lewis (Hunter) to close out the game.
The South took the lead in the second inning, when K.K. Payret (Station Camp) reached on an outfield error when a fly ball dropped in center field, and then Hailey Wortham of Hawkins singled to short. When Floyd fired to Sanders at first, she turned and threw home but Payret slid in safely for a 1-0 edge.
The North had hits in each of the first three innings but stranded the runner every time. Shelby Richards (Portland) singled in the first, then Gaines in the second and Harris doubled in the third but she was thrown out trying to advance to a triple.
Station Camp seventh grader Breia Nettles pitched four innings total, including the first three scoreless. She allowed two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Kaitlyn Graham of Hunter took the loss, pitching the other three innings and allowing three runs on four hits and hit two batters and walked one.
Gaines pitched three innings for the no decision, giving up one run on three hits, but escaped big trouble in the bottom of the third already down 1-0. Allie Pyle (Station Camp) doubled off the right field wall and Lewis walked, both with one out, but she retired the final two outs on a fielder’s choice and a groundout.
McCray came on in relief in the fourth and pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits. McCray induced five fly ball outs, but surrendered the one run in the bottom of the fifth after Ruby Elkin of Knox Doss singled and Payret doubled. That made it 2-1 after the North had tied the game in the top of the fifth when McCray singled to start the inning and Gaines was hit by a pitch, then Sanders bunted and Hoffman, running for McCray, came around to score on the throw.
McCray became the winning pitcher after finishing the fifth and seeing her team take the lead in the top of the sixth inning before Sanders came on for the bottom half.
Hunter’s Mackenzie Likness had a base hit in the game and Mattie Gaza of Knox Doss reached on a fielder’s choice for the South.
Richards reached base twice with a single and a walk.
Harris and Gaines combined to reach base five times and had four hits total. Neither of them was retired on the bases.
The Sumner County Middle School Softball Game would like to thank sponsors: Stringfellow Inc., Los Jalapeños of White House, Enbright Credit Union, Sanders Industrial Supply, 31-W Insulation, Adams Construction and Interiors, Dan Adams Jr. and One Click Realty, Tal Plumlee of Farm Bureau Insurance of White House, Cantrell’s Market, First Tennessee, Richie’s Hot Wings, Finch Real Estate, Four Winds of Orange Beach, and Apollo 05 travel team.