KINGSPORT - One big inning saved the day for the Dobyns-Bennett softball team.
The Lady Indians batted around in the bottom of the fourth inning, erupting for five runs to erase a 2-1 deficit on their way to a 6-2 Big 9 Conference win against Sullivan East on Wednesday.
While D-B coach Jerry Higgins said he'd certainly take the win, he was hoping for a more complete effort from his team.
"Offensively, we played for one inning," he said. "One inning is not going to carry us."
But the big fourth inning certainly did the trick against the Lady Patriots, who had just taken a one-run lead in the top half of the inning thanks to a D-B error, an RBI double by Megan Smith and an RBI single by Jessie Blevins.
Sullivan East committed a pair of errors in the bottom of the inning, and timely hits by Emily Street, Ashley Christian, Erika Snapp and Shea Hensley gave Danielle Zimmerman all the run support she would need.
Zimmerman (1-1) looked strong, scattering three hits and one run to go along with six strikeouts in her seven innings of work.
For Sullivan East, big innings are becoming an all too familiar tale.
The Lady Patriots have lost their first three games of the season, and a big inning has cost them in all three contests.
"We played a great game except for one bad inning," East coach Regina Bartley said. "If you take away that one bad inning, we win."
Bartley said a young infield will need a little time to gain some experience and she hopes they learn from a tough first week on the diamond.
"They have to know they can win," she said.
Megan Smith (0-3) picked up the loss for East, giving up seven hits in six innings of work.
Although Smith gave up six runs, only one was earned.
Next up for Dobyns-Bennett is a trip to the Henderson Commando Classic, where the Lady Indians will face off against plenty of good pitchers and quality hitters.
Higgins hopes the five games in Middle Tennessee will prepare his hitters for a key conference showdown next week.
"We play Science Hill next Tuesday, so I hope we see some gas," Higgins said.
Street, a freshman, was a bright spot at the plate for D-B, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs in her first varsity start.
Higgins said he hopes the solid play by his freshmen will motivate some of their older teammates.
"(The freshmen) are the ones wanting to play right now," he said.
Ashley Lorimer went 2-for-3 with a triple and scored a pair of runs for the Tribe (2-1).
Smith was 1-for-3 for East (0-3) with an RBI double and a run scored.
Lindsey Loudermilk was 1-for-2 and scored the Lady Patriots' other run.