Cornersville can't catch up with Summertown
Cornersville defied the odds by knocking off Mt. Pleasant to gain a trip to the Region 6-A Tournament for the first time since the 2011, but a loss in the district championship to Columbia Academy gave the Lady Dawgs the daunting task of traveling to Lawrence County to take on perennial power Summertown for a chance to appear in the sectionals.
The visitors sent ace Mikaela King to the mound and the sophomore pitcher kept the Lady Eagles in check before a three-run third inning opened up a lead Cornersville was never able to close and the Lady Dawgs ultimately fell 6-3 to the District 12-A champs.
"Errors were the difference between the win and the loss," Cornersville coach Eric Crabtree said. "Three errors there in the third inning. Throwing the ball away gave them three runs. That's the difference in the game."
Didn't give up
"We've got a group of scrappy kids and they fought," Crabtree added. "They don't give up until the last pitch."
King, who struck out four Lady Eagles and pitched 21 first pitch strikes, was able to hold the home team in check for three out of the six innings, but a few untimely errors in the third and fourth innings gave Summertown a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Despite a three run fifth inning rally, the Lady Bulldogs would get no closer.
"We just had one rough inning," senior center fielder Miranda Cooksey said. "We had one inning when we had multiple errors and then we had another inning where they were just on fire. They had some pretty good hits, some in the gaps that we just couldn't get to. That was the difference in the game."
The contest was knotted at 0-0 until Summertown catcher Raegan Hannah hit a single into center field to score the first run of the game.
The Lady Eagles would catch a break on the next play when Cornersville catcher Emma Mitchell fired a shot to an unmanned third base allowing another run to score and the third and final run of the inning was scored after a harmless ground ball to King was dropped at the plate for the 3-0 Summertown edge.
After three up and three down on the Cornersville side of the third, Summertown would tack on another run with two outs in the fourth when Paige Hunter hit a single to left a 4-0 lead.
"I told the team, 4-0, that's just four runs, we can handle that," senior Carson Coble said. "I knew that we could get them back, we just had to hit to win. I just kept telling the girls to hit the ball, base hits, we need runners. You can't score unless you have base runners."
The Bulldogs finally awoke in the fifth inning when after a Cooksey walk, Kirsten Young launched a double to the left field fence to place runners at second and third before Cooksey scored on a wild pitch.
Hannah Singleton garnered the first Cornersville RBI on the next at bat with a single past a diving shortstop to cut the lead to 4-2.
With two outs, Coble would heed her own advice and hit a single to left field to advance Singleton to third base.
Sam Prosser delivered from the clean-up position on the next at bat with a double to right field to bring home Singleton, making it a one run game at 4-3.
With the leading run on second base, Summertown pitcher Madison Konig got Madison Hopkins to ground out to third base and end the Bulldog threat.
The Lady Eagles would add insurance runs in the fifth inning when eighth-grader Meg Dinwiddie hit a solo home run deep over the center field wall and fellow eighth-grader Taytum McGill hit a ball deep to center to sacrifice Sarah Beth Smith across the plate for the 6-3 edge.
The Bulldogs threatened one last time with a King single and a Young double off the center field wall to put runners at second and third base with just one out, but for the second inning in a row, Konig forced Cornersville to leave two runners in scoring position.
Konig finished strong, getting the heart of the Lady Bulldog lineup to go down 1-2-3 to finish off the game and end Cornersville's season.
"You hate to see it end, but as a whole I'm proud of this group," Crabtree said. "Nobody thought we could get out of the district, but we did and that's all because the girls worked their tails off. They believed in themselves."
Cornersville 000 030 0-3 7 3
Summertown 003 120 X-7 8 0
Cornersville: Carson Coble 2-for-3, Kirsten Young 2-for-3, Hannah Singleton 1-for-3, Sam Prosser 1-for-4, Mikaela King 1-for-3
RS: Singleton, Miranda Cooksey, Young
BB: Singleton, Coble, Cooksey
2B: Young 2, Prosser
RBI: Singleton, Prosser
SAC: Emma Mitchell
LP: Mikaela King (6IP, 8H, 6R, 4ER, 4K, 0BB)