The Sullivan Lady Eagles started the regular season on a winning note in the People’s Bank Back-to-School Classic. Sullivan hosted the tournament at the Campbell-Chapman Sports Complex. Head coach Ashley Crump got a glimpse of the new pitching rotation from her on Friday during all three pool games and the Lady Eagles won all three.
Sullivan defeated the DeSoto Lady Dragons, 12-0. The Lady Eagles jumped ahead when they scored seven runs in their first at bat. This was Sullivan’s first regular season at bat. The game started when Kayla Ulrich scored a brace. The bases were loaded after two walks. Sullivan came alive after a two-out rally when Carli McCreary was hit by a pitch and Ulrich scored. Alexis Funkhouser scored on a wild pitch before Dorie Richardson walked. It looked like the Lady Dragons were struggling on the mound when Hayli Venable was hit by a pitch and Molly Lohden scored. Sullivan took advantage of these problems when they scored on a dropped ball and Grace Halmick walked right after. Ulrich stepped up to the plate again and singled on a drive. Richardson was the first to score and Venable was the next to score. Halmick was the last to score in the inning on an error by shortstop DeSoto.
The Lady Dragons tried to close the gap when they scored one in the bottom of the second. Sullivan secured the victory after five more runs were scored in the top of the third inning. Venable was hit by a pitch but advanced to third base on two passes. Halmick walked again, but was out on one play early on and Ulrich singled. He then advanced to second on an error that also scored Venable. Funkhouser and Lohden walked, but Ulrich scored on a wild pitch before Funkhouser stole second. Jada Brooks walked and the bases were loaded. After DeSoto made a pitching change, Morgan Braun grounded hard and scored Funkhouser and Lohden. The Lady Dragons scored two more runs, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Lady Eagles.
Ava DeClue picked up the win on the mound and only allowed three runs on six hits. She struck out DeSoto five times.
Evvie Blankenship was flawless on the mound during Sullivan’s second game of pool. Blankenship earned the win on the mound, pitching seven complete innings. His shutout only allowed two hits, and he recorded a staggering nine strikeouts.
Ulrich got the action started again when he doubled on a fly ball to right field. After one out, Ulrich advanced to third. He then scored when Lohden got to first on a dropped third strike. The Lady Eagles secured the victory when Richardson hit a big home run to left field. Sullivan won, 2-0.
The Lady Eagles shut out their opponents during their final game of pool. This time, Lohden started on the mound and pitched the full six innings. She only allowed four hits and recorded three strikeouts.
Sullivan jumped onto the backboard for the first time in the top of the second inning. Braun landed at first on a groundout to left field. Richardson then fumbled on a fielder’s choice and Braun advanced to second. Venable singled on a hard grounder to center field and scored Braun. Richardson advanced to third and Braun advanced to second on the pitch. Richardson and Venable scored before Hannah Campbell advanced to second after hitting a single on a ground ball.
The Lady Eagles extended their lead in the top of the third after Lohden flied out and landed on first after an error. He then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and pass. Evvie Blankenship grounded out and reached on an error that Lohden scored.
Sullivan last scored in the top of the sixth. Braun landed on base again after a big fly ball double. It was scored when Venable singled on a groundout. The final score was 5-0.