Tennessee: GPS cruises to Division II-AA title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — GPS has looked like a team going through the motions most of the 2008 Division II Class AA softball postseason, but when the Bruisers feel like playing, results like Friday’s are what happens.

GPS got things going its way with a two-out rally in the first inning and coasted to a second consecutive state title with a 15-0 five-inning victory Friday night at the Starplex facility.

GPS (29-4-1) breezed through the competition in last year’s field, outscoring opponents 45-3. The seven returning starters, five of them seniors, showed they still had it in them.

Another is junior right fielder Megan Givens, who got two hits in an inning for the first time. She said the Bruisers heard that St. Benedict had done some pregame “smack” talking and that got them going.

“We only lost two seniors,” Givens said. “I think every team is different, but this team still had the core coming back. We had to defend the title.”

The Bruisers made St. Benedict pay for walking No. 3 batter Jessica Phillips in the first inning with a run-scoring triple by Kamri Chester followed by an RBI ground-rule double by Jackie Baird and an RBI single by C.C. Gordon after Amy Campbell was hit by a pitch.
They grew lead to 10-0 the next inning, starting when Megan Givens doubled to deep center field. Before the inning was complete, Givens scored on the back end of a double steal, then came back up and hit an RBI single. Chester contributed a two-run home run among the hits in between.

“They were inspired,” GPS coach Susan Crownover said. “They were relaxed. I think they got confident when they started rolling, and the lead kept getting bigger and bigger. One of our parents, Bob Chester, calls it ‘the wheels on the bus’ when we get started.”

The early support was all pitcher Megan Wagner needed. She ended up with a two-hitter with two walks and three strikeouts.

Crownover said her senior right-hander was ready to play by the middle of the afternoon.

“We scored a lot of early runs,” Wagner said. “That took some pressure off. We just clicked. It was pretty sweet.”

Baird and Phillips paced the Bruisers’ 16-hit attack with three apiece.

By: Kelley Smiddie

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