KINGSPORT — After a disappointing start to the season, Gate City’s softball team finally put it all together on Monday.
The Lady Blue Devils were patient at the plate, aggressive on the basepaths and sure-handed in the field, leading to a five-inning 12-0 victory over Sullivan North.
The Lady Raiders and the Lady Blue Devils both participated in the Eastman Invitational this past weekend, but Gate City seemed to be the team that came away from the event with more momentum.
The Lady Blue Devils pounded out 15 hits while holding North to four singles.
Gate City coach Sarah Bellamy said the tournament gave her team the spark it sorely needed.
“We’re fresh out of the Eastman tournament,” Bellamy said. “We were struggling with our confidence going in, but we found some this weekend.”
Gate City scored at least one run each inning, but blew open the game with a five-run fourth.
After Kayla Todd and Jasmine Calhoun hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the third to push the lead to 5-0, the Lady Blue Devils did most of their damage on the basepaths in the pivotal fourth frame.
Ashlee Mustard and Tirzah Lane reached on base hits in the fourth, and their respective courtesy runners both scampered home on wild pitches.
Ebone Everett and Kayla Todd each drove home a run to give Gate City (3-6) a 10-0 lead.
Bellamy said the aggressiveness on the basepaths was another sign that her team is finally turning the corner.
“That’s something they’re feeling more confident about,” she said. “They’re really coming into their own.”
Lane (3-5) was efficient in the circle as she worked her way through North’s batting order. The junior scattered three singles through four scoreless innings of work before giving way to Tess Lane, who recorded a scoreless fifth to preserve the shutout.
The Lady Raiders (3-10) hit the ball hard on several occasions, but Gate City’s defense was rock solid.
Bellamy estimated that the Lady Devils had been averaging three or four errors a game going into Monday’s interstate showdown. They committed only one against North — a miscue that was offset by a handful of sparkling plays.
Alisha Taylor (3-10) took the loss for North after pitching four innings. In all fairness to Taylor, however, there probably aren’t many pitchers around who could have slowed the Lady Devils on Monday.
“We’re usually good on defense and don’t come up with the hits or we hit the ball well and don’t play good defense,” Bellamy said. “We couldn’t ever put it all together, but we did today.”