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Sturgill fans even dozen in Burton's opening win

Kevin Mays • Mar 11, 2019 at 10:53 PM

NORTON — J.I. Burton’s softball team is young.

So young, the Lady Raiders could be confused for a junior varsity team based on the age of its players.

However, Burton opened its varsity season Monday looking like a veteran squad, led by the pitching performance of Bailey Sturgill. The sophomore stymied Lee High on the way to an 11-1 nondistrict win in a game called after six innings because of the 10-run rule.

NOT A BAD START

With the exception of a fourth-inning slide, Sturgill was in full command throughout the game. She recorded 12 strikeouts, giving up one run on two hits with no walks and one hit batter.

“I was able to hit my spots,” Bailey said. “You’ve got to mix up the pitches every now and then and keep them off guard.”

Despite cool temperatures, Sturgill said her arm felt good on the mound.

“I thought it was great weather. I like all of it. You’ve got to play. You can’t let weather affect you,”she said.

STRONG YOUTH MOVEMENT

The season-opening win left Burton coach Gary Hampton happy with his team, which struggled last week in a preseason scrimmage.

“We’re young and we’ve not had a lot of time out on the field yet,” Hampton noted.

“But it was a very good start.”

Of Burton’s nine starters Monday, two were seniors and one was a junior.

“We’re young team but we’re coming together,” Hampton added. “We struggled a little bit in our scrimmage last week but we came out and worked hard and we’re doing better.

“We’ve got a little bit of speed. We’re young and we’re still trying to learn some stuff but we’ve got a good nucleus and a good team.”

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION

Burton spread out the hitting and the run production, totaling nine hits from eight players.

Senior Sarah Mullins went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. The other Lady Raiders, senior, Hannah McNew, delivered a two-RBI single in the sixth inning.

Burton’s McKenzie Franklin had one RBI in the fifth after drawing a bases-loaded walk and added two more RBIs in the sixth on a single.

Lee pitcher Gracie Calton (0-1) gave up four runs on three hits through two-plus innings.

Calton broke up Sturgill’s no-hit attempt with her fourth- inning single. Lee’s only other hit came in the sixth on a bunt single from Sierra Seiber.

UP NEXT

Burton is scheduled to host Twin Valley on Wednesday and Holston on Thursday.

Lee’s home opener, against Middlesboro, Kentucky, is slated for Thursday.

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