Springfield celebration

Lily Hunnicutt (left) joins Katie Rhodes (5) and Abbie Peach (1) to celebrate after the Yellow Jackets' win over Summit.

The Springfield softball team will begin its quest for the TSSAA Class AAA championship Tuesday afternoon.

The Lady Yellow Jackets are set to take on Hardin County at 4 p.m. in Murfreesboro. It's the first time in program history that Springfield has advanced to the state tournament.

“I think we’re going to do well as long as we keep hitting the ball and our defense stays great,” junior shortstop Katie Rhodes said. “I think we’ll have a good chance of going pretty far.”

THE MATCHUP:

Hardin County (34-8) vs. Springfield (35-10)

Tuesday, May 21 @ 4 p.m.

Starplex Field No. 1 (McKnight Park, located at 120 DeJarnette Lane in Murfreesboro)

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Hardin County blew by Collerville in the Class AAA sectionals with a 14-5 win last Friday. Before that, the Tigers won the District 13-AAA championship with a 6-5 win over Dyer County May 7. Hardin County finished as the Region 7-AAA runner-up after dropping a 5-4 contest to Dyer County May 16.

Springfield shut out Summit 7-0 last Friday in the sectional round to earn its first-ever state tournament berth. The Lady Yellow Jackets exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third to blow the game open.

Springfield also won the Region 5-AAA championship earlier in the week with a 2-1 win over Mt. Juliet and a 3-2 victory over Wilson Central. The later win came in dramatic fashion, as Abbie Peach laid down a bunt to score Hannah Richardson, who collided with Wilson Central catcher Grayce Guethlein and knocked the ball to the backstop, allowing Ellie Friedmann to score the winning run in the seventh.

SHINING STARS:

Hardin County: Senior 3B Jalyn Clark

Clark is perhaps Hardin County’s most talented player. She’s a power threat from the lead-off spot and already has four home runs in the postseason, including two in a 13-6 sectional win over Collierville last week. Cherry carries a batting average of nearly .450.

Springfield: Freshman pitcher Brie Asmondy 

Despite being one of the team’s youngest players, Asmondy has blossomed into a star for the Lady Yellow Jackets. She’s their go-to pitcher on the mound and already has five postseason wins under her belt. Asmondy has hit 18 home runs this season, including two in the Region 5-AAA tournament.

Others to watch:

Hardin County: OF Melody Morris, P Halle Grace Patton, P Madalynn Payne, C Faith Welch

Springfield: SS Katie Rhodes, OF/P Emma Asmondy, CF Emilee Bundy (Trevecca signee), C Elizabeth Funk

QUOTABLE:

Springfield coach Daniel Owsley on Brie Asmondy:

“That girl is awesome. She’s just a workhorse. She came in as a freshman and went to work. I love her mound presence. She throws a ball and it’s like, ‘OK, I threw a ball, so what?’ Nothing fazes her. It’s really awesome to watch.”

SEND-OFF ROUTE:

The Lady Yellow Jackets will depart from campus Tuesday at 11 a.m. Fans are encouraged to gather to send the team off to Murfreesboro. The bus will follow Highway 76 to Fifth Avenue, before turning left on Memorial Blvd. and heading to I-24. The team is slated to arrive at McKnight Park just after 1 p.m.

THE ROAD AHEAD:

Tuesday’s victor will advance to the play the winner of Dickson County-Siegel Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., while the loser will play the loser of Dickson County-Siegel Wednesday at 10 a.m. Both games will be McKnight Park Field No. 1.

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