Katie Sims pitched a six-hit shutout Tuesday to lead Baylor to the Division II-AA East/Middle Region softball championship.
The Red Raiders blanked GPS 4-0 at Lupton Field in what amounted to a region title game. Had the Bruisers won, the teams would have been tied for first and a coin flip would have decided the top seed in the postseason.
Instead, Baylor (28-7) posted its 11th consecutive win and third straight shutout.
Baylor won the first game versus GPS (13-13) this season, 16-9, so Sims said she wasn’t expecting a shutout.
“I didn’t think I had a shutout [in me]. I definitely felt a win coming,” Sims said.
Baylor scored three two-out runs in the first inning. As it turned out, that was more than enough for Sims against the four-time defending state champions.
“I kind of expected both teams to score a lot of runs again today,” Baylor coach Kelli Smith said. “That’s typically how we play — we score a lot of runs — but I was proud of our kids in the first inning, with two outs putting three [runs] on the board.”
GPS pitcher Corey Swafford got the first two batters out in the first before Baylor’s Noelle Winkles reached on an error and then scored on Cassi Pickett’s double to center field.
The Red Raiders added two runs when courtesy runner Cricket High stole home and Lauren Lewis doubled in Haley Andrus. Lewis drove in the game’s final run in the third inning.
The Bruisers got multiple runners on base in three innings, but always with two outs. In the seventh, they got two two-out singles before Sims ended the game with her fourth strikeout.
Smith said she never considered replacing Sims after GPS got two runners on base.
“She was on her game today,” Smith said, “and especially with two outs, there was no doubt at all that she’d be able to finish it.”
Lewis finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Baylor at the plate. Madison Boyd went 3-for-4 for GPS.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...