By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain scored six runs in the first inning and went on to a 12-2 Mountain Six Conference softball victory over Hendersonville in the season opener March 4 at the Webster field.
The game was called in the bottom of the fifth due to the 10-run rule.
Kennedy Stewman was two of two at the plate, including a home run. She also was hit by a pitch and walked.
K.J. Ammons was two of three plus a walk.
Alannah Hopkins pitched a three-hitter. She struck out seven and walked one.
“The first game is always a learning curve,” said Morgan Dillard, who was making her head coaching debut. “You don’t know exactly what you need to work on until you see them in action. We had a lot of positives and things that we need to build on. We also noticed a couple of things that we need to tweak.”
MaKinzy Daniel gave the Lady Bearcats a 1-0 lead with an RBI grounder in the first.
The Lady Mustangs needed only two batters up in the bottom of the first to take the lead for good. Ashton Buchanan led off with a walk, and Stewman followed with a two-run homer.
Walks to Ammons and Paige Monteith around an error loaded the bases. Katie Allison had a two-run single. Runs also scored on an error and a wild pitch for a 6-1 SM lead.
“Kennedy came up big in the first inning with the home run,” Dillard said. “I kept telling the girls that this game sets the tone for our season. Her having that home run in her first at-bat was big for us.”
Daniel’s RBI single in the fourth made it 6-2.
The Lady Mustangs scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to lead 9-2. Buchanan singled, Stewman walked and they moved up on a passed ball. Ammons had a two-run single and scored on Monteith’s double.
SM put the game away with three runs in the fifth. Carisa Tilley walked and Riya Patel singled. Stewman had an RBI single, and Ammons ended the game with a two-run-double.
“K.J.’s hit at the end was a huge success,” Dillard said.
Ellie Gold had two hits for Hendersonville.