BRISTOL, Tenn. — Dobyns-Bennett’s softball team reached a pretty significant milestone during Wednesday’s Stateline Classic at Whitetop Creek Park in Bristol.
With an 11-1 victory over Richlands in five innings, the Lady Indians notched their 30th win of the season.
“Everybody puts in a good effort,” Tribe coach Andy Hubbard said. “We don’t have any whining on the bench. We’re a team and I’m proud of them.”
In the four high school games pitting Tennessee teams against Virginia teams, the squads from the Volunteer State went 3-1. Sullivan East beat Gate City 5-2, and Elizabethton topped John Battle 12-7. Virginia High bested Tennessee High 10-3 to avoid the sweep.
“We’re the only county school that got invited from Tennessee, you know? And our girls, they want to show that they compete,” East coach Tommy Forrester said. “They can compete with these other city schools, they can go across the state line and compete with those good Southwest Virginia schools. And it gets a lot of publicity. We knew there’d be media here and college coaches here and the girls get excited to play in this thing.”
D-B (30-11) should be excited about its position. The Lady Indians remain in the driver’s seat in Big 8 Conference play, and the short turnaround allowed them to quickly put Tuesday’s loss to Science Hill — its lone league defeat of the season — in the rear-view mirror.
The Tribe batted around in the first inning, plating six runs. A two-run single by Kourtney Bailiff in the third inning made it an 8-0 game.
D-B fell behind 10-0 early in the loss to Science Hill.
“I think they just play hard and mental toughness is the word for that,” Hubbard said. “I’m happy. I wasn’t disappointed yesterday. Getting down 10-0, I think 80 percent of the teams in the league roll over and get beat in five.”
Hubbard credited his assistant coaches, Brian Tate and Candie Wright, for keeping the players motivated.
“I think that’s why we had some success this year is, we’re all pulling in the same direction,” the Tribe’s head coach said. “Coaches and players and parents and everybody.”
Samantha Lilley allowed the one run on four hits to record the win for the Lady Indians.
Gate City nearly came back all the way from its early deficit, pulling within 3-2 on Ashlee Mustard’s two-run double in the fifth inning before East (11-13) plated a pair of vital insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
It was another verse of the same song for the Lady Blue Devils according to coach Sarah Bellamy, who said several of her team’s losses have come by close margins.
“That’s what’s frustrating. You’re right there,” said Bellamy, whose team goes to Lee High to open Clinch Mountain District play today. “Everything from the beginning to now, yes it matters, but our district starts (today). So they kind of shake it off and say a new season starts now. Hopefully they’ll have that attitude.”
Lindsay Loudermilk staked East to its early lead on a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. It marked the fifth round-tripper of the season for Loudermilk, who boasts a batting average above .500 according to her coach.