The Lady Pioneers got two-run home runs from Haley Finney and Madison Varney in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, and Adrianna Morrison was lights-out in the circle, recording nine strikeouts and retiring 14 of the final 16 batters she faced.
Gate City managed just five hits, getting three of them with two out in the final frame. The Lady Devils would have had the bases loaded, but Elizabeth Salyers was caught in a rundown between third and home and then tagged out for the game-ender.
Three seniors — Kate Pendleton, Josie Howington and Salyers — played their final game for Gate City (13-10-1),
“That’s the way it goes sometimes when you see good pitching,” Gate City coach Cara Noe said. “Our seniors have meant a lot to us and our program. They’ve meant a lot to my family. They’re not only good softball players, they’re good people off the field.”
Salyers was the only Gate City batter with multiple hits, recording two singles off Morrison. The other hits came from Avery Johnson, Abby Davidson and Kiersten Quillen.
Lebanon mashed out 10 hits, led by Averie Price’s 2-for-3, two-RBI day. Morgan Hamm also recorded two hits.
Kara Long made three terrific defensive plays in the field to stop three Gate City rallies. One was a diving stop in the hole and flip to third to get the lead runner. The other two were leaping catches to get line drives that surely would have been base hits.
Pendleton struck out four and walked three on 123 pitches.
The Lady Pioneers (16-7) advanced to meet Union (15-8) in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. regional semifinals at Lebanon.
“We have to work hard in the offseason and do what it takes to get better,” Noe said. “We’ve seen what a talented team looks like and we have to learn from it.”