MURFREESBORO — Davidson Academy gave its opponent too much Rust in the state softball tournament Thursday.
DA catcher Hannah Rust accounted for all three runs and Holly Hockaday fired a three-hitter, lifting the Bears to a 3-1 victory over Southern Baptist Educational Center (SBEC) in the winners bracket final of the Division II-A tournament at Starplex fields.
The win lifts DA to the finals Friday at 5 p.m. in the BlueCross Spring Fling event, and a win will give the Bears their second straight championship and third overall.
Rust belted a hard shot which the left-fielder couldn’t handle which went for a two-run double in the first and gave DA a quick 2-0 lead. She then hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth for a 3-0 lead which held up.
“I was just looking to drive the ball somewhere, and luckily I did,’’ Rust said. “I had no idea I drove in all three runs.’’
Rust, one of DA’s most gregarious players, is one of nine seniors for DA, eight of whom start, something she felt has played a huge part in their success.
“We’ve grown up with each other since kindergarten, playing together, and we’re so close both on and off the field,’’ Rust said. “Hopefully, I’ve brought a positive mentality to our team.’’
“Hannah called a great game behind the plate,’’ said Hockaday, a freshman. “My best pitch was the curve ball. Hopefully, we can play well and win it on Friday.’’
In the fourth, Kari Wachter bunted safely, then Holly Beth Jones lined a single, and Brooke Brennan beat out an infield hit. Rust then plated Wachter when she drilled her sacrifice fly.
Hockaday shines: After that, the Bears turned things over to Hockaday, who retired the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the seventh, she managed to tip a hard shot off her glove which went right to Jones at short, who threw out the runner.
Hockaday survived a scare in the fifth inning when SBEC got runners on second and third with one out, but she got out of it by allowing just one run, which was unearned.
DA has really put things together in the tournaments, posting two shutouts to win its sectional 2-0, then allowed only the one run in its two state tourney appearances.
“We started the season pretty slowly, but we’ve really come on late in the season,’’ said Jones, a UT-Martin softball signee and Moss-Oliver award finalist. “With nine seniors, we’ve had some very good leadership. I’m very excited with how we’re playing and hopefully we can win one more game.’’
“Holly pitched a superb game,’’ said 17-year veteran Coach Stacy Swinnea. “SBEC’s pitcher (Morgan Mosby, who struck out seven) was outstanding, too. We played a tough schedule, lost some one-run games. I’m really proud of this group for how far they have come since the middle of the season.’’
Davidson (27-13) meets SBEC Friday at 5, needing just one win to capture its second straight title. SBEC (25-2) won its elimination game later Thursday to stay alive.
Goodpasture falls: Goodpasture’s run at seven straight Class AA championships ran into serious jeopardy Thursday night as the Cougars lost a 2-1 decision to Unicoi County in the winners bracket finals at Starplex Park.
No. 9 batter Lindsey Allen rapped a two-run single to center in the second inning, providing just enough offense for winning pitcher Kara Woods. Woods allowed the Cougars just three hits and struck out nine.
Megan Bryant, the hero in Goodpasture’s win Wednesday night, doubled to lead off the Cougar sixth. She later scored on Paige Neely’s grounder, but the Cougars could score no more. In the seventh, Goodpasture was retired in order.
Goodpasture (40-4) must beat Covington in the losers bracket final Friday at 10 a.m. today to reach the final and another shot at Unicoi Friday at 6.