With Beech holding a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning Monday, Station Camp seemed poised to finally break through the scoreless drought with some runs. The Lady Bison had runners on first and second base with no one out and the heart of its lineup coming to the plate.
Unfortunately for Station Camp, the Beech defense had other plans. Freshman pitcher Brianna Faulk recorded a pivotal strike-out and third baseman Whitney Lee fielded a sharply hit ground ball, stepped on third base and threw to first for an inning-ending double play to escape with no damage done.
From there, the Lady Bucs defense held the lead, only allowing one run in the seventh inning on its way to a 3-1 victory over Station Camp.
"This team has really improved defensively," Beech Head Coach Kristi Utley said after Monday's victory. "They're not going to let a lot get by and they're going to make some big plays."
Faulk helped lead the Lady Bucs to the victory by pitching all seven innings and only allowing one run on five hits while striking out three.
The Lady Bucs were led offensively by another freshman, Katelyn Graham. Graham stepped to the plate in the home half of the third inning and crushed a three-run homer to give the Lady Bucs all the scoring they would need.
"I was aiming for a little gap in the outfield and ended up hitting it over," Graham said, laughing.
Monday's game was a rematch of the battle between the two area rival schools three weeks prior when Beech earned a tough 5-4 victory in extra innings at Station Camp.
"Station Camp's a really good team," Utley said. "Their pitcher does a really good job of keeping us off-balance at the plate and they hit the ball. It's a really good cross-town rival game."
The Lady Bison attempted to rally in the top of the seventh inning when Addie Bean hit a solo home run to right center field, which ended in Bean being mobbed by her teammates at home plate. The excitement was short-lived though as the Beech defense recorded two quick outs and sealed the victory.
"We just came up short, but it's nice to see her hit the home-run," Station Camp Head Coach Ken Crook said of Bean. "She's battled injuries the last couple years. But I mean, it would be nice to have another runner on and try to put a little bit more pressure on them. That's the story of the game. We never really put pressure on them, and they made the plays when they had to and we didn't come up with the key hit."
The Lady Bison coach was proud of the defensive effort by his team along with starting pitcher Madison Croxford, who pitched six solid innings while only allowing six hits and striking out four.
"She was great - she's been carrying us the whole year," Crook said of his starting pitcher. "If we didn't have her, I don't know what we'd do. She's been steady all year long. She's our rock for sure."
Beech was coming off a softball tournament trip to Alabama over the weekend and Utley hopes the experience will help her team down the stretch and in districts as they close out their regular season at Lebanon Tuesday.
"It really kind of gave us the ability to play a lot of our girls and pitch a lot of our pitchers," Utley said about her team's trip. "It was just a good look at what we had and what we need to work on. We've got one game left. We want to finish on a high, try to get that win tomorrow night and push towards the district tournament."