Pitchers' duel or slugfest. GPS showed at least on Friday it could win either way.
The Bruisers won both of their opening pool-play games in the 22nd Lady Trojan Invitational softball tournament, which was delayed getting started by four hours where they played, at Soddy-Daisy High School, because of overnight rain.
Most of the tournament was held at Soddy Lake Kids' Park, where the schedule was delayed by seven hours. Central is another local team that won its first two games and faced Karns in a late game.
The tournament resumes today at 8 a.m. with pool-play games on a 70-minute time limit. The last pool games are scheduled for 10:30.
The top two teams in each of the six pools will be placed in the Gold bracket and the remaining teams will be put in the Silver bracket for single-elimination, which is scheduled to start at noon. Finals are at the lake complex with the Silver slated for 6 p.m. and the Gold set for 7:30.
GPS went from stifling Brentwood High's offense in a 3-0 five-inning victory to holding on and edging Marion County 8-7 in a game in which both teams scored five runs in the fifth and final inning.
Madi Stanley pitched the shutout for the Bruisers and struck out six. Morgan Lane homered in the second inning against the Lady Warriors, and her three-run double highlighted the Bruisers' rally in the top of the fifth. With a sacrifice fly in the first game, she had five RBIs for the day.
GPS coach Susan Crownover said the sun and wind created havoc for the outfielders on both teams in the second game. Right fielder Madison Boyd threw out two Marion runners at the plate to help preserve the win.
"Madi threw well, and we got some runs across," Crownover said. "That ought to build her confidence. We made some big plays to get out of that one, too.
"Our big hitters came through for us in the second game. And the bottom of the order got a couple of runs for us."
Central opened the tournament blasting Bradley Central 10-0 and needed only three at-bats. Brook Womack had one of the day's best offensive games with a 2-for-3 performance that included a grand slam in a six-run third inning. Her other hit was a double and she totaled five RBIs.
The Lady Purple Pounders and Whitwell played scoreless for four innings before Central scored four in the top of the fifth and final inning of a 4-1 victory.
Shelby Willard, who had eight strikeouts, was the winning pitcher and Chasidy Ainslie, who had a sacrifice fly against the Lady Tigers, was the winning pitcher in the first game. Hannah Powell went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the two games.
"The first game we played real good defense and Cha pitched a really good game," Central coach LeeAnne Shurette said. "It had been over a week since we'd played, so we had to knock off a few cobwebs. The second game I thought we faced adversity really well. We hit the ball but had trouble putting anything across the plate. We finally ended up finding a way to do it. That last inning we ran the bases and hit the ball like we needed to."
Among other top performances by area players Friday, Braleigh Angel went 3-for-3, drove in three runs and scored three when Baylor beat Obion County Central 13-5 and Taylor Baird pitched a five-inning two-hitter with seven strikeouts in Ooltewah's 9-0 victory over Arts & Sciences. Whitwell and Bradley Central played to 5-5 in a game in which the time limit expired, but Lady Tigers catcher Kathleen Sledge went 2-for-4 and threw out all four Bearettes trying to steal.
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.