Christian Heritage’s softball team needed just four innings to pick up a breakthrough win at Heritage Point, with the Lady Lions’ 13-2 run-rule victory the first GHSA league win for any sport at the school.
It was also the first victory in nine games to start this season for Christian Heritage softball, which got a no-hit effort from starting pitcher Rebecca Leonard. Although defensive miscues led to a pair of unearned runs for the Atlanta visitors in the top of the first, she shook it off in a seven-strikeout, three-walk performance.
Christian Heritage evened the score in its half of the first, then pulled away quickly in the Sub-region 6A-A opener with an eight-run second inning.
“After the first inning, our defense stepped up and played really well,” Lady Lions coach Mike Leonard said. “We’ve been playing a lot of pretty good teams and competition lately, and what I’ve been telling our girls is it’s going to continue to make us better. We had the chance to beat (Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe) the other day and we should have ... but we’re young and we don’t have a lot of girls who play travel ball.
“The games when we’ve cut down on our defensive mistakes, we’ve played very well. I was proud of them today. It was good to get a win.”
Offensively, Reagan Benedict went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and scored twice to lead the Lady Lions, while Kortnai Greene was also 2-for-3 and drove in a run and Baileigh McCallister had a hit and drove in a run.
• North Murray 6, Gordon Central 2: Lady Mountaineers coach Daphne Winkler was not pleased with how her team started out, and she hopes they take the next opponents more seriously.
North Murray (5-3, 2-1 Region 5-3A) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but Gordon Central scored once in the second and another in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth. The Lady Mountaineers had four errors behind starting pitcher Hannah Hensley and stranded a number of runners on base.
“It was ugly. It’s probably the worst game we played this year,” Winkler said. “We’d have runners on second and third and couldn’t do anything with it. ... It was baserunning errors. We came out looking bad today.”
North Murray’s McChaela Cochran, a freshman, led off with a single in the sixth. Kaitlin Epps laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Cochran to second, and Megan Pittman got an RBI double to tie the game. On the next batter, Samantha Stafford showed bunt, and when the Gordon Central third baseman charged, Pittman took off for a steal. The throw to third sailed into left field, and Pittman was able to score and give North Murray the lead. The Lady Mountaineers scored three more in the seventh.
“In the sixth and seventh innings, it looked like my team again,” Winkler said. “We have a good team, and I don’t think they looked past Gordon Central, but they think teams are going to lay down for them.”
• Calhoun 9, Murray County 0: The Lady Indians (4-6, 0-1) managed just three hits in the Region 5-2A opening loss on the road that was shortened by the run rule. Shea Pendley, Aubrie Osborne and Caitlin Sims each had hits.
• Ringgold 8, Coahulla Creek 0: The Lady Colts were limited to just one hit in the Region 5-3A opener that lasted just five innings. Emily Banks had the lone hit for Coahulla Creek (3-5, 0-1).
• In a tri-match with plenty of local flavor, Dalton swept past Christian Heritage and Northwest Whitfield at home. Christian Heritage evened its record at 2-2 on the year with a victory over the Lady Bruins.
Dalton (7-3) beat Northwest 25-22, 17-25, 25-22 in a match pushed to three games, and the Lady Catamounts took a 25-16, 25-20 victory over the Lady Lions. In the other game of the night, Christian Heritage beat Northwest 25-21, 28-26.
Dalton outside hitter Susan Meinders had the standout night. The junior had 33 kills in a night Dalton coach Joey Wills called “incredible.”
“She was swinging away,” Wills said. “It might have been the single most impressive night that she has had. She and Kara (Pendley) played well and Molly Martin had a good night at the net as well.”
Martin had 11 kills, while Pendley was responsible for setting up almost all of Dalton’s offense with 71 assists.
Jessica Seehorn finished the night with 16 kills, four aces and 17 assists to help pace the Lady Lions. Savannah Roberson added 14 kills, and coach Kim Parsons has been pleased with her team’s showing early on.
“I feel pretty good,” Parsons said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have against Dalton, but for being a small school, we played very well up against the bigger schools. I was very impressed with the way the girls battled.”
Christian Heritage is in Class 1A, while both Dalton and Northwest are Class 4A.
Northwest (4-6) was paced by Sarah Thomas, who had 10 kills and four blocks. Katie Kirk had a big day behind the line with six aces.
“The girls need to come together as a team and start playing as a whole,” Northwest’s Jennifer Quinn said. “They have to get that drive to win. I think we are having some up and some down, we need everyone up at the same time. I am still waiting on that to happen.”
• After dropping their first game to Tennessee power Baylor in a best-of-five match, Southeast led the Lady Red Raiders in the second game and seemed headed to even the match up.
But Baylor rallied to tie the game at 19 and then went on to take a sweep over Southeast, 25-17, 25-22, 25-13.
“Losing that second game after we were up like that kind of broke our backs,” Lady Raider coach Jake Dickey said.
Megan Collins finished with eight kills and 20 digs, while Hannah Graham had 12 assists and 10 digs. Makayla Burse added nine digs for Southeast (2-1), which will be in action against Area 7-4A foes Dalton and Heritage-Catoosa on Thursday at Dalton. However, the matches will not count in the area standings.
• Murray County split a couple of Area 7-2A matchups with a win against Chattooga followed by a loss to Armuchee.
The Lady Indians (1-2, 1-2) beat Chattooga 25-23, 13-25, 25-22, but lost 25-19, 25-20. Murray County coach Kim Richards did not have stats of players except that sophomore Heidy Cabral had a strong day serving. The Lady Indians scored 23 points in the five games when Cabral started with the ball.
“I was happy,” Richards said. “It was much better than how we played last week. There are still a few things I have to get ironed out with certain players in certain positions and stuff, but I was pretty pleased with the way we played.”