Monday mows 'em down

Sophomore fires Maryville by Bearden

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By Stefan Cooper
Sports Editor
Blount Today

The bats are coming around.

The way Brittany Monday is pitching lately, though, there’s really no hurry.

The precocious sophomore toyed with her second perfect game in as many weeks before finishing off Bearden, 3-0, in a two-hit gem on Tuesday at Sandy Springs Park.

Monday struck out 14, allowing only a pair of singles in the fifth, as Maryville advanced to District 4AAA showdown at Heritage on Monday with a victory far more comfortable than the score would indicate.

Speedy left fielder Camille Olvey led off the Lady Rebel first with a triple to right, scoring one batter later on Abbie Harper’s fielder’s choice. That’s all Monday, who’d struck out the side to start the game, would need.

The Lady Bulldogs were retired three up, three down through four, with Monday not allowing a ball off the infield. Meredith Niethammer singled and scored for the Lady Rebels (7-2, 5-2) in the Maryville third, the junior shortstop scampering home on a double steal.

Catcher Kim Whaley tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the Lady Rebel sixth, providing a three-run cushion that might as well have been 10.

"I think we’re getting more into it," Olvey said. "Everybody’s starting to show up.

"We had a rough start to the season. We’re progressing each game. We’ll be ready by (the) district (tournament)."

Next week’s clash at Heritage was originally scheduled for today and will replace a scheduled contest with Seymour. The
extra few days to get ready comes at a welcome time, Maryville coach Ken Hawkins said.

The Lady Mountaineers, who reached the Class AAA state tournament a year ago, feature one of the district’s best arms in senior Shelly Fagg. The Heritage ace, every bit the fireballer as Monday, will be a considerable step up from the speeds Maryville batters encountered against Bearden.

The Lady Bulldogs limited a potentially powerful Maryville lineup to four hits.

"I think a lot of it is we’re not seeing high caliber pitching every day," Hawkins said. "I have enough confidence in our pitching and defense to know we’re going to be in the game. I think our pitching is as good as anybody’s."

It’s getting an offense that includes seven juniors firing on all cylinders that will be key in April.

"I’m not as concerned about our hitting right now as some people are because we’re playing good defense," Hawkins said.
Maryville has committed only two errors on the season.

"We went all the way to the state tournament with pitching and defense (in 2002)," Hawkins said.

Monday is rapidly developing into the kind of pitcher that Maryville can follow all the way to Murfreesboro. Junior Holly Ridenour is another option in the pitching circle. It’s finding a Lindsy Little, a Brooke Melton, among this season’s Lady Rebels with which Hawkins concerns himself most.

"Those two ignited our offense last year," he said. "This year, we don’t have that yet."

They’re getting close, though.

"We’ve been working on it a lot in practice," Harper said, "finding the gaps."

Monday, with a solid defense behind her, looks as if she’s more than capable of handling the rest.

District 4AAA softball standings

Team District Overall
Farragut 5-0 11-3
Maryville 5-2 7-2
Heritage 4-1 9-9
South-Doyle 4-3 4-4
Wm Blount 3-2 6-1
Bearden 2-3 2-6
Lenoir City 0-7 0-8
Sevier Co. 0-8 2-8

District 3AA softball standings

Team District Overall
Alcoa 5-3 7-5
Austin-East 0-3 0-3
Carter 3-2 3-3
Fulton 0-0 0-4
Gibbs 1-0 11-6
Seymour 1-0 8-3

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