By: Jim Steele
McKenzie had plenty of opportunities in its substate softball game at Scotts Hill Friday afternoon. So did the host Lady Lions...and they made the most of them.
Scotts Hill punched its ticket to Murfreesboro after toppling the Lady Rebels 3-0.
The Lady Rebels had runners in scoring position durin the first, third and sixth innings, but couldn't score. McKenzie outhit their hosts 5-3, but the Lady Rebels were their own worst enemy. Two errors resulted in Scotts Hill runs in the second and third innings and the Lady Lions had a 2-0 lead. Scotts Hill's Melanie Alexander cranked an 0-2 pitch over the centerfield wall for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
"It wasn't like we struck out a lot," said McKenzie coach Becca Jones. "We just hit it right to people."
Jones announced, after the game, she was stepping down as McKenzie's coach.
One of the things that pleased Jones was the fact that McKenzie improved after suffering a 10-0 set back to Scotts Hill on March 18.
"When we played them before, they scored 10 runs in three innings," said Jones. "I hate that we lost, but to just lose 3-0 in seven innings showed how much he had improved."
In the top of the first, Audrie Washburn led off by roping a double to left. She was stranded there. In the third, Sarah Jackson led with a single, and took second on Jenna Tucker's sacrifice bunt, but advanced no further.
In the sixth, Chloe Williams reached on a fielder's choice with two outs. Emily Lunn singled, posting Lady Rebels on first and second, but, once again, McKenzie didn't score.
Shelby Tucker, Lunn, Amberleigh Cooper and Jackson each singled. Scotts Hill's Alexander accounted for two of her team's three hits.
Washburn didn't have a bad day pitching. She worked six innings, fanning six, walking one and scattering three hits. She allowed just one earned run. She did hit three Lady Lion batters.
The Lady Rebels end the season with a 21-12 mark. Coach Jones said the team showed marked improvement over the course of the campaign.
"The South Fulton game was one of the highlights of the season. We never gave up and made some amazing plays to win," she said. "Last year, we were put out of the district before it even started. Then, to come back and make it to the district finals, win a game in the region and go to substate I think is a confidence builder from last year. I'm proud of them and the work they put forth. I'm proud of the girls. They were the ones out there every day, executing the plays and hitting. Im proud of there accomplishments."