Taking no chances — or prisoners for that matter — Brentwood High looks primed to make a third straight trip to the state softball tournament.
On elimination Monday, the Bruins made sure of matters with a convincing 10-0 five-inning shutout of Hunters Lane High in the 6-AAA softball semifinals at Granny White Park. Collecting their 30th win, the Bruins advanced to Wednesday’s region finals where they will play district foe Ravenwood, a 10-1 winner at McGavock.
The Bruins (30-8) banged out 13 hits, an offensive attack highlighted by senior Paige Katchur’s school record 14th home run, a two-run shot over the left-center field fence in the fourth.
“It definitely feels good to have broken the record,’’ said Katchur, who has signed with Seminole CC in Orlando, Fla. She has hopes afterwards of signing with a top Division I program for her final two years.
“I didn’t even know it was a record until someone told me. To know that my name is going up on that wall at school as the record-holder is a really special,’’ she said. “We came out focused on offense, and our defense played well, too.’’
Katchur, one of five seniors, broke the record of 13, set last year by Bailee Lott, who is at Houston. She has slugged 23 homers the past two seasons.
“I get nervous in the third base coach’s box when she’s up, because she hits the ball so hard, I have to be alert,’’ said Bruin sixth-year coach Jamie Chiariello, smiling. “She really hit the ball solidly today.’’
All but one Bruin had at least one hit. Amanda Buntin led the way, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Suzi Jenkins, Rachel Harmon and Carissa Schmittou all collected two hits each off two Warrior pitchers.
“We were pumped up, knowing it was an elimination game, and everybody contributed,’’ said Buntin, who is the sister of Bruin catcher Amy Buntin. “Like my dad (Scott) says, we’re peaking at the right time.’’
The big surge proved more than enough for winning pitcher Jennifer Maher (17-6), who fired a one-hit shutout, struck out nine and faced the minimum of 15 batters.
Hunters Lane’s Caitlin Dickens singled to center to lead off the fourth, but she was doubled off second on an appeal play later in the inning. Jenna Matthews had a nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off four two-strike pitches, before striking out.
Brentwood has reached AAA state in Murfreesboro the past two years, finishing fifth last year and third the year before. In ’05, McGavock upset the Bruins in the region.
“That was in the back of my mind and the minds of some of our seniors, losing that game to McGavock,’’ Chiariello said. “We wanted to come out, keep our focus, play our best and get closer to state.’’
“They (BHS) are just a machine, they just have an excellent team, they’re so strong in all phases of the game,’’ said Hunters Lane coach Chip Sullivan, whose team ended 18-17, playing a strong schedule.
“At the same time, I love my girls to death, and they have really worked hard this season, I’m very proud of them,’’ he said.
LIPSCOMB WINS: Leigh Ann Henry fired a two-hit shutout and struck out five, as host Lipscomb blanked Page 8-0 in the Region 5-AA softball semifinals. Sophomore Lydia Biggerstaff went 3-for-4 and belted her 11th home run, adding to her school record. Whitney Wood and Brittany Dillingham had two hits each.
BASEBALL: Junior Kyle Lehning laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring the go-ahead run as host Lipscomb rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to edge Page 5-4 in the Region 5-AA baseball semifinals. Senior Kevin Davis pitched the final 5 2/3 innings in relief, escaping several jams along the way, to pick up the win.