Efficient: preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource.
Nashville senior pitcher Maci Ingram matched that definition perfectly. Ingram threw just 82 pitches, 66 of them for strikes, fanning 11, allowing just two hits and letting just three hitters get her to three balls in a count.
The result was a two-hit shutout as her Hornettes beat Fairfield 8-0 in the Johnston City Class 2A Supersectional Tuesday.
Nashville, 37-2, advances to the Class 2A semifinals in East Peoria where it will face St. Joe-Ogden, a 14-3 winner over Williamsville in the Athens Supersectional.
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“She really pitched well today,” said Nashville coach Dempsey Witte of Ingram. “She was really hitting her spots. She’s done a great job for us all year, especially in the big games.”
Fairfield coach Jeremy Ellis was expecting that type of performance from the Nashville ace. That’s why his team’s strategy was to try and hit early in the count.
“Our focus was going in we knew she was going to be in the strike zone a lot,” Ellis said. “We felt like we were going to have to get our bats ready and swing early to try to get onto her. You’re not going to stand there and take pitches because she’s not going to be out of the zone.”
And offensively, Nashville did what Fairfield wanted to do.
The Hornettes struck for two runs in the first inning. With two outs, Emily Thompson lined a single over the head of Fairfield shortstop Allison Tullis. Deidra Holzhauer followed with a double to the fence in left field to score Thompson. Daley Buchanan’s single to left plated Hozhauer, and Nashville led 2-0.
“We always try to get a great start,” Witte said. “When you get that lead, it’s easier on everybody to play with a lead. I think those two runs in the first inning were huge.”
The Hornettes added three runs each in the third and fourth. Karly Stanowski blasted a three-run homer in the third inning. Nashville used speed and power in the fourth, as Mackenzie McFeron reach on a bunt single, stole a pair of bases and scored on a passed ball. Thompson scored on a ground out by Holzhauer and Brooke Burcham launched a laser to right-center field for a solo home run.
“What I liked about our offense today was that we hit two balls,” Witte said. “But I know McFeron scored without hitting the ball past the pitcher. We got some small ball and we got some power and a nice blend for our offense.”
Nashville rapped out nine hits by eight different batters. Stanowski was the only Hornette with two hits.
Ingram allowed a bloop single to Kylar Slover in the third and a line drive double to right by Christina Walker in the seventh. She walked one batter and faced just two over the minimum of 21 batters.
Sabrina Seitzinger suffered the loss for Fairfield. She struck out one and walked four. All eight runs off Seitzinger were earned. Fairfield’s season ends at 22-11.