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Hitting It Big

Lady Rebels slug their way past Gibbs with impressive display

Maryville’s Callahan Baker gets into a big rip during Friday’s game with Gibbs. Photos by Keith Driver. For more photos from the game, please visit our Photo Store or click the link at top of site.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

When Caylan Arnold is in the pitching circle, Maryville is one of the best teams in the state.

When the Tennessee signee is not in the pitching circle, Maryville is one of the best teams in the state.

Brook Parker gets loose prior to the game.

Brooke Parker gets loose before the game.

Take Good Friday’s 6-3 win over Gibbs for example.

Lauren Hamby’s double down the third base line left a smoke trail in sparkling a big third inning. Macy Powell tripled to straightaway center a batter later to score the run.

Two innings later, shortstop Callahan Baker and pitcher Brooke Parker muscled a pair of home runs out of the park as Maryville (13-2-2) rallied to overtake one of the state’s elite programs in an important early season test.

“We wanted to pitch Brooke. We’re going to need her,” Lady Rebel coach David Allen said. “‘Let’s see how she does against Gibbs.’”

With Arnold getting the day off after a 17-strikeout performance against district rival Farragut earlier in the week, Parker was told she would start against the Lady Eagles an hour before game time.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I thought I was going to throw up before the game.”

After Gibbs jumped to an early lead, Parker credited her defense with making sure things didn’t get out of hand.

“They were making plays for me,” she said. “I wasn’t hitting my spots, and they were making the plays I needed.”

Gibbs opened fast against the tall right-hander, second baseman Olivia Wheeler lacing a one-out triple to right in the Eagle first. Pitcher Abby Hicks got the RBI with a fly ball to center a batter later.

Lady Rebel catcher Lauren Hamby makes sure everyone is in their places.

Catcher Lauren Hamby makes sure everyone is in their places.

Defensively, Gibbs features one of the best middle infielders in the game in shortstop Leah Sohm. Maryville managed a pair of singles through two innings complete, Hicks retiring the side by strikeout in the second.

Then Hamby happened. Then Powell.

“I think we were just starting to see the ball,” Baker said.

Katie Thompson kept the big inning going, boarding on a fielder’s choice. Baker and Parker followed with RBI and two-RBI singles, respectively.

By the close of the frame, the Lady Rebels held a 4-1 lead, plenty of room for Parker to bear down on the pitching rubber.

Gibbs pulled back a couple of runs in the Lady Eagle fifth, Abby Smith, walk, and Sohm, single to short, boarding to score.

In the bottom of the inning, Baker got around on a drive over the left field wall, Parker following three batters later with a two-out smash to straightaway center.

Parker proved her mettle in the Gibbs seventh. With one out and the bases loaded behind her, the Lady Rebel sophomore induced a pair of pop ups on the infield to close it out, Saylor Johnson kneeling under the last one at second to end it.

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