Pisgah softball completes County Clash sweep

Apr. 30—A home run, fireworks and a dip in the Pigeon River — Monday night's softball County Clash had it all.

Ultimately, the hosting Pisgah Lady Bears claimed a 6-2 win, sweeping the season series against their biggest rivals.

"I'm excited," Pisgah coach Heidi Morgan said. "Sweeping the County Clash is what everyone wants. They set their mind to it. Anything this group sets their mind to, they're able to achieve."

Pisgah got off to a hot start early. In the bottom of the first, junior Savannah Dickerson singled to left field, allowing junior Mack Jones to score from second base.

In the bottom of the second, senior Addison Sorrells singled, sending senior Tannon Sorrells in to score from third.

"That's been one of our goals since spring break — trying to score early, score first and continuing to build on that," Morgan said.

In the top of the third inning, Tuscola got one runner on, but a pair of fly outs and a strikeout ended the inning for Tuscola.

That was the story of the night for the Mountaineers. Balls hit well, but finding the leather of a Pisgah defender's glove for an out.

"Overall, we did really well," Tuscola coach Lindsay Markos said. "We played hard. It's just one of those things where you're hitting the ball and it's just going right to them. I've told the girls before that sometimes it's just how the game is. You can swing as hard as you possibly can, and the defense is going to play. That happened tonight. It stinks."

The bottom of that third inning saw momentum swing heavily in the Bears' favor.

Sophomore Jaiden Smith led the inning off with a double. That was followed up with Jones crushing a ball to right center. The towering shot went over the fence, putting two more runs across the board for the Bears, pushing the lead to 4-0.

"Mack is a key player. She does a great job," Morgan said. "She has such perseverance at the plate and really works hard. She's a leader offensively for us and defensively."

The Lady Bears added on to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Jones got the inning started with a double, her third hit of the game. The junior came just a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

A few batters later, senior Jayden Moore singled into center field, sending Jones in to score her third run of the game.

After six innings, Tuscola had not been able to muster a single run. That was in large part due to a strong performance for junior Sadie Messer in the circle.

The junior pitched the complete game, allowing just six hits (just three through the first six innings), while walking two and striking out six.

"Sadie is a warrior," Morgan said. "Her mental toughness is impeccable. Defensively, we've really worked hard and really focused on the process and the small things and making sure."

Tuscola did not do themselves any favors either, stranding five runners on base in the first six innings.

"I wish it could've gone differently and we could've scored some of those girls who left on base earlier and manufactured some of those runs," Markos said.

The Mountaineers finally got something going in the top of the seventh inning.

With one out, sophomore Kendall Williamson doubled. That was followed by a single from sophomore Sydney Snowden that scored Williamson.

Snowden was able to advance to third on a wild pitch. Then, senior Karsen Cherry poked a ball into shallow right field, scoring the second and final run of the game for the Mountaineers.

"I told them that we're going to fight because that's who we are. We fight until the end," Markos said.

After the game, fireworks shot into the sky from behind the centerfield wall, celebrating the home team completing the season sweep of Tuscola — something that Morgan said was a surprise to her.

That wasn't the only exciting celebration following the game. After the win, the Pisgah team headed down to the Pigeon River to take a dunk.

Morgan said the team had asked if she would take the leap if they beat Tuscola.

"I don't think they thought I'd say yes, but I said 'If you beat Tuscola at home, I'll cannonball off the side of the bank,'" Morgan said. "I had to stick to my word."

The entire team came back to the field afterwards drenched from the chilly waters of the river.

Now, both teams turn their attention to the final few games of the season.

Pisgah has two games left against East Henderson and North Henderson. The Bears have already clinched the third place finish in the Mountain 7, but a pair of wins will only help Pisgah as they head towards playoff seeding.

The Mounties have a pair of road games against Smoky Mountain and West Henderson to close out their year. Tuscola currently sits a half-game behind Smoky Mountain in the standings and could potentially move up to a fourth place finish.

They are also sitting at No. 34 in the RPI rankings, making both games crucial if the Mounties hope to make the state playoffs.

"We have to keep working," Markos said. "We know nobody is going to hand us anything, and we don't expect that. We know that our record doesn't define who we are. These girls work really, really hard."