Story and Photos by Kailee Means
The Upperman Lady Bees shut out the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats in the first round of the district tournament 7-0 in softball action on Thursday night.
The Lady Bees struck first in the first inning by bringing one run across. The fourth inning proved to be a game-changer, as Upperman brought five more runs across before scoring once more in the sixth.
Livingston struggled offensively to get on the board, as the final was 7-0.
“You’ve got a well-coached team with some good athletes over there, Coach Bennett and Misty to do a really good job,” said UHS head coach Dustin Williams. “For us to come in and lock in after the third inning, I was proud of our girls. There were a lot of variables today and we played the game at 3 p.m., a non-traditional setting in the district tournament. That was the third time we played them and I was really just proud of how we were able to grit and grind and break it open there in the fourth inning, giving ourselves a little breathing room.”
Sabrina Garrett started in the circle for the Lady Wildcats, as she lasted six innings and allowed 11 hits and seven runs while striking out four.
Leah McElhaney toed the rubber for the Lady Bees, and pitched a complete-game shut-out with six strikeouts and just one walk.
“Leah did what she has done for us all year long,” said Williams. “She keeps us in every game and we play really good defense behind her. She had six strikeouts and we made 15 routine plays with no errors. So when we play clean softball behind her, we’ve got a chance.”
Garrett and Emma Dulworth each had a hit for the Lady Wildcats.
Kirra Hancock, Jaycee Sweeney and Reece Kimmel each had multiple hits for the Lady Bees, as Hancock led with four hits at four at-bats.
“Offensively, I thought we did some positive things,” said Williams. “We hit the ball in the gap a few times, but we still had four strikeouts. We’ve got to try to eliminate our strikeout totals and put traffic on the bases, and stay loaded on our back foot. We had too many pop-ups today, so I’d like to see the ball hit in the gap and hit the ground hard.”
Livingston will now move to the lower part of the bracket to keep their season alive, as they will play the loser of DeKalb County-Macon County at 4 p.m. on Tuesday night in Sparta.
Upperman will travel to number-one seed White County at 8 p.m. on Monday night.
“We need to come out and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Williams. “A really good practice on Sunday, even though it’s Mother’s Day, and come in and try to get a really good day in. We’re gonna hit and do the little things that we have been doing all year to give ourselves an opportunity to play clean softball against a team of that quality.”