MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Tipton-Rosemark Academy senior Ashton Needham stepped into the pitching circle at a state tournament for the first time in her career at about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.
She certainly didn't pitch like a first-timer, though.
Needham struck out nine, walked just one and scattered five hits over seven innings to lead TRA to a 2-1 win over Ezell-Harding in the first round of the DII-A state tournament.
The win moved the Lady Rebels (25-11) into a winners' bracket game Thursday morning at 10 against University School of Jackson.
"I was definitely nervous," Needham said. "Going to state as a senior has always been the dream. I thought they played great defense behind me. We jumped on them early and I think that really helped our confidence."
"She has pitched like that all year," said first-year TRA coach Johnie Sanfratello. "That's the way she throws it every time. She's always a competitor from the very first pitch."
TRA's Taylor Beasley led off the game with a triple and Bethany Berger followed with a homer to provide all the offense the Lady Rebels would need.
Sally Downing singled and doubled for TRA, which had seven hits in the game.
Ezell-Harding scored a run in the fourth and put a runner on base in the seventh.
But Downing threw out Breann Sanders at second base and leftfielder Jordyn Thornell made a sliding catch for the game's final out.
"Now we gotta go get USJ," Sanfratello said. "They're ready."
Munford's softball season came to an end Tuesday in the Class AAA state tournament.
After a loss to Dickson County on Tuesday, Munford (30-14) lost to Knoxville Gibbs on Wednesday morning, 8-5.
Gibbs (48-5) jumped out to a 5-0 lead through two and a half innings.
Munford's offense got going, but the Lady Cougars were never able to get closer than three runs.
Tori Ray paced Munford's offense. She finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and hit a solo homer in the fifth inning.
Maddison Welch doubled twice and Jodie Duncan was 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Peyton Joyner added two hits and drove in a run.
Sam Scott went all seven innings for Munford and took the loss. She struck out two and allowed 13 hits and five earned runs.
Tipton-Rosemark Academy's baseball team played an elimination game Wednesday morning at LaVergne High School in the DII-A state tournament.
The Rebels (34-7) got a strong pitching performance from University of Memphis signee Connor Alexander and defeated Battle Ground Academy 6-1.
Alexander struck out six, walked none and allowed just five hits to earn the complete-game win.
With the win, TRA advanced to play Knoxville Webb on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at LaVergne. The winner of that game will have to defeat USJ twice on Thursday to win the state title.
TRA managed just six hits off BGA starter Sam Folks, but it was enough. Rosemark scored two runs in the third and two more in the sixth and seventh innings.
Conner Sanders had a pair of hits for TRA and Logan Stewart and Gil Erwin each drove in a run.