The Lady Blue Devils scored seven runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth to pull away to a 10-1 nondistrict victory over J.I. Burton on Monday.
While the Gate City bats came to life in the fourth inning, junior Kate Pendleton (1-0) scattered four hits and recorded eight strikeouts in a complete-game performance to pick up the pitching win.
Burton (1-1) took the early lead when Lady Raiders leadoff hitter Sarah Mullins opened the game with a solo home run over the center field fence.
Pendleton then retired the next nine batters she faced in order.
“She’s really grown up a lot in the last year. We’ve asked her to do a whole bunch. She’s probably going to play about five positions for us. So she’s a crucial factor to our success and I really thought she did well,” said Gate City coach Cara Noe.
Burton threatened to do some damage in the top of the fourth after Lilly Redman opened the frame with a single into right field. One out later, Tia Bates moved Redman to second with a single to left. A Gate City error loaded the bases for Burton before Lady Blue Devils first baseman Cammie Lovelace threw out Redman at home. Pendleton closed out the inning by tossing one of her strikeouts.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Gate City bats took over.
After being held to just two hits over the first three innings by Burton pitcher Brooklyn Barnette, the Lady Blue Devils smacked seven of their 13 total hits in the bottom of the fourth. The attack included a solo home run from freshman Lexie Lane, a two-run homer from Alyssa Clark, doubles from Kinslee Hammonds, Lovelace, Pendleton and Alexis Flanary, and a single from Sarah Thompson.
“I think in the beginning it was a lot of first-game jitters, probably for both teams,” Noe noted. “We played a little tense at first. We just needed to see (Barnette) through a couple of times. Once we adjusted, we were able to make good contact.”
Lovelace led the Gate City hitters, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Pendleton, Thompson, Flanary and Hammonds each went 2-for-4, and Thompson, Pendleton and Flanary each added an RBI.