UNIONVILLE — When it comes to tournament time, teams that are playing late in the season want to be playing their best ball. Starting with the regional tournament, the Community Viqueens look …
UNIONVILLE — When it comes to tournament time, teams that are playing late in the season want to be playing their best ball.
Starting with the regional tournament, the Community Viqueens look to be peaking at the right time.
The Viqueen bats got in the swing of things after a slow start while Annie Prince was in complete control on the mound as Community punched its second straight ticket to the TSSAA Class AA state tournament with a 9-0 shutout win over the Westmoreland Lady Eagles in a sectional matchup Monday night.
"Super proud of them. We came out here and took care of business," Coach Cam Farrell of the Viqueens said.
"I told them the offense will come, but we've got to play defense, and they did," Farrell added.
The pitchers were in the spotlight early in the game as Prince and Anna Creasy of the Lady Eagles were keeping opposing hitters off stride.
Prince did get into a jam in the opening inning as two Lady Eagle runners reached base with one out, but Prince put out the fire with two strikeouts.
It wasn't until the bottom of the third that the Viqueen bats started to warm up.
After singles by Haley Mitchell and Anna Haskins put runners on base with two outs, Alana Tate hit a looper with a lot of spin to the right side of the infield. The ball eluded the second baseman for a base hit, and the subsequent throw got past the first baseman, scoring two Viqueen runs and putting Community (20-11-1) up 2-0.
The Viqueens added to their lead in the fourth with another two-out hit. After Abi Brown led off with a single, Carlie Blanton drove her in with a double to put Community up 3-0.
With Prince pitching lights out, the Viqueens put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fifth.
Community sent 10 batters to the plate with six Viqueens plating runs.
After Chloe West and Haskins led off with singles, a double steal scored a run and put the Viqueens up 4-0. A walk to Abby Murrill paved the way for a two-run double by Brown and upped the Viqueen lead to 6-0.
The hits kept on coming with two outs as a Taylar Wessner single, a double by Blanton, and a single by Mitchell all drove in runs as the Viqueens went up 9-0.
"You have to be patient and learn where the kid's throwing and you've got to go to work from there," Farrell said after the Viqueen bats warmed up in the middle innings.
"They were patient and they figured it out and then we went to work," Farrell added.
The Lady Eagles loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Prince struck out the final Westmoreland batter to preserve the shutout as the Viqueens punched a state tournament ticket to Murfreesboro.
Prince struck out at least one batter in each inning and ended with 11 strikeouts for the game while walking two and hitting one.
"That kid's a lion," Farrell said. "And what I love about that is we have another pitcher waiting and ready to go, too."
The Viqueens had 13 hits, with Mitchell collecting three safeties while Haskins, Tate, Brown, and Blanton had two hits each.
It will be a quick turnaround as Community opens play against Westview Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in an opening round game of the TSSAA Class 2-A state tournament at McKnight Fields in Murfreesboro.
"I'm blessed to have a team like this," Farrell said. "The message I gave them is I'm super proud and happy that we're going to the state, but they've got to get in the mindset that we can win state."
"That's what I'm geared up toward," Farrell added. "Let's go over there and take it one game at a time and let's get some wins."
Westmoreland 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Community 002 160 x — 9 13 1
Community: Haley Mitchell 3-for-3, Carlie Blanton 2-for-3, Anna Haskins 2-for-4, Alana Tate 2-for-4, Abi Brown 2-for-4, Taylar Wessner 1-for-3, Chloe West 1-for-3.
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