MURFREESBORO — Talk about a tough draw. Jeez.
Playing their first game in the Class A softball state tournament since 2008 on Tuesday, the North Greene Lady Huskies faced the mighty Summertown Lady Eagles and pitcher Claire Woods, a Middle Tennessee State University signee.
And things didn’t go well. Utilizing a fastball-changeup-curveball combination, Woods struck out 13 Lady Huskies en route to a 13-0 run-rule win in five innings.
North Greene, now 24-10-1, will play Union City – a 5-1 loser to Eagleville – in an elimination game in the losers bracket at 10 a.m. Central Time Wednesday at the Starplex.
Summertown (32-2-1) will play Eagleville in the winners bracket at 4 p.m. Central Time Wednesday at the Starplex. The Lady Eagles, who are playing in their fifth consecutive state tourney, extend their winning streak to 23 games.
“I told the girls not to let the score be indicative of the difference between the two teams,” said North Greene coach Danny Weems. “Certainly, Summertown – in my opinion and most people’s opinion – is the class of the Single-A division. But I don’t think the score is indicative of the level of team that we have.
“We have a quality team, too. This game just got away from us.”
In Woods’ five innings, she gave up just one hit and didn’t walk any while the Eagles played error-free defense behind her.
North Greene’s lone hit came on a bloop single over first base in the fifth inning, and just two other Lady Huskies put the ball in play. Haley Bailey grounded out to first in the second inning and Hailey Kirkpatrick grounded out to second in the fourth.
“It’s bad to see Woods (in the first game) because she’s so doggone good,” Weems said. “ … When you run into somebody in the circle who’s that good, for high school players, it’s really difficult.
“Kudos to her. She’s really, really good. She deserves the accolades she’s getting. She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all season.”
North Greene starter Cambell Gaby kept Summertown off the board the first two innings before the Eagles pushed across five runs in the third.
Gaby was lifted after the third. In her three innings, she gave up six hits, five runs, walked one and struck out two.
Paysli Randolph pitched the fourth and fifth innings for North Greene. She gave up a two-run homer to Hailey Jones in the fourth that pushed Summertown to a 7-0 lead.
Randolph didn’t record an out in the fifth as the Eagles scored six times and walked it off on a grand slam by Jones.
“With the pitcher we were facing, we didn’t think we were going to scratch across five runs, so we took Cambell out,” Weems said. “We wanted to give Paysli a chance to pitch in the state tournament and we got an opportunity to do that. She saved Cambell some innings and some pitches. Hopefully, we can come back and play four or five more games this week. That’s the goal.”