In a race to stay with Grace, Silverdale Baptist is keeping pace.
Overcoming a slow start Thursday, the Lady Seahawks eventually bunched some hits together and rallied past Arts Sciences 4-0 in a District 5-A high school softball game at Silverdale.
Although neither Silverdale (6-6) nor Arts & Sciences (5-5) has a winning record, neither had a league loss coming into the game. It was the first district contest for the Lady Patriots, who play at Boyd-Buchanan in a makeup game today at 5:30 p.m.
Silverdale coach Chip Liner, whose team improved to 3-0 in district play, said it was crucial to remain even in the loss column with Grace Academy, last year’s district champion and eventual state runner-up.
“You hope when you play them you have the same record as they do,” Liner said of the Lady Golden Eagles. “That means you have to win them all.”
The Lady Seahawks didn’t give an indication they would be Thursday’s winning team in the first three innings. CSAS pitcher Liana Rodrigues was perfect with three strikeouts and one ball hit out of the infield.
Abbie Bateman spoiled things by reaching on an infield single to start the bottom of the fourth. After a sacrifice, Kelsey Dishroon grounded a single through the left side ahead of Katie Henderson’s two-run double to center. Amanda Patterson followed with a sacrifice fly.
“She has an unusual windup,” Liner said of Rodrigues. “Maybe seeing her one time through the lineup helped us. The people we have that are supposed to hit, the people we count on, all came through at the same time. It was really good to see us do it against a good pitcher.”
The Lady Patriots’ problem wasn’t getting runners on base but getting them in. Eleven reached base safely and one was caught stealing.
“We left too many runners on base,” CSAS coach Michelle Meyners said. “We just didn’t execute. We’re awfully young. I’ve got nine freshmen on this team. I believe it was nerves, inexperience ... scared.”
Henderson, the winning pitcher, gave up seven hits but had 11 strikeouts. Liner said she has struggled in the early season but seems to be getting her confidence back. Her three walks all came by pitching carefully to CSAS cleanup batter Kiara Suttles, whom she retired for the final out with the bases loaded.
The last two of Silverdale’s six hits were Dishroon’s single and Patterson’s run-scoring double in the sixth.
Ashunti Cooper went 2-for-4 with a double for the Lady Patriots, and Briana Taylor also doubled.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.