By CHIP CIRILLO | Photos by MAGGIE POPE
Summit’s softball players wrote the team motto on the inside of their wrists before taking the field Thursday.
R2L – Refuse to Lose.
The Lady Spartans backed it up by forcing a second District 11-AAA championship game with a 6-2 win in 11 innings over top-seeded Brentwood at home.
“Coach (Jenny) Stevenson talked to us and she was like, my heart was in the wrong place and it doesn’t matter if we win or lose as long as you refuse to lose — that’s all we ask for,” said Summit third baseman KK Woodside, a Lipscomb commit. “We came back from a really tough season and being here right now is just awesome.”
With the score tied at 2, Woodside started a four-run rally in the 11th with a 2-run single.
Summit (10-17) earned its first championship game appearance in school history and ended Brentwood’s 15-game win streak.
Summit got a spot in the final with a 9-1 win over Independence in an elimination game earlier in the day.
“After we lost to Page in the first round, we decided we’ve just absolutely got to refuse to lose,” Stevenson said. “We’re too good to not be where we’re at right now. And so we are refusing to lose.”
Summit avenged a 5-4 loss to Brentwood (28-6) on April 24.
“We played great in the first of the year, but we couldn’t get the win,” Stevenson said. “We couldn’t finish the games. All the games were super close, but now we’re making diving plays. We’re doing whatever it takes to get the win now. And earlier we were letting some of those balls go through that we weren’t willing to lay out for.”
Brentwood visits Summit at 5 p.m. Friday in the championship of the double-elimination tournament.
“Our defense is on fire right now, for sure,” Stevenson said. “And we’ve got the bats one through nine to go with it. So, we’re feeling it right now.”
Brentwood’s Hannah Koenig, a Louisiana Tech signee, and Summit’s Carly Scott pitched a scoreless duel the first nine innings.
Both teams scored two runs in the 10th when the tie-breaker rule started the inning with a runner on second base.
Summit’s Aldyn Mathis came through with RBI singles in the 10th and 11th.
Brentwood’s outfielders struggled in the late innings, letting two singles get past them for extra bases.
“After giving up four more runs, it’s hard to come back from that, especially when you make a few errors,” Brentwood coach Erica Powell said. “It sort of hit our confidence a little bit. When you make a few mistakes, they’re going to take advantage of it.”
The Lady Bruins won the district tournament last year en route to the state tournament. Brentwood won the regular-season district title with an 11-0 record.
“It was a crazy game, but what are you going to do?” Powell said. “You’ve got to come back and try again tomorrow.”