PETERSBURG — Jianna Hughes and South Knox kept Pike Central in check most of the way Tuesday, but the Chargers surged in the sixth inning to rally for a 7-4 softball win in the Spartans opener.

Hughes pitched a complete game and took the loss, giving up four earned runs on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts. She also shouldered a balanced offense, going 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Lily Culp doubled and singled with an RBI, Kenzie Johnson and Reagan Nowaskie doubled, and Leah Ellerman and Reagan Kissen had hits.

South Knox broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the third and fourth innings. Pike Central tallied in the fifth to get within 4-3, and the Chargers started the sixth with two singles and a walk before Mallory Hickey became the fourth straight runner to reach base, driving in the tying and go-ahead runs with a hit. Pike added two more runs on groundouts to build a three-run cushion heading into the final inning. The Spartans managed only a one-out walk in their last at-bat.

“For the first game, we played well, and I was pleased that we got some timely hits and put up two runs in the first,” South Knox coach Doug Houchin said. “We had that one-run lead in the fifth, it was raining, and it seemed like a storm was coming. Reagan Kissen made a heck of a catch in right field to end the inning, and I thought it might get called (due to rain), but then the rain just quit. Then they go out in the sixth and put together three straight hits and a walk.

“I think Jianna got a little tired, and we also made four errors. If it hadn't been our first game, I think maybe we could have held them off. But most of our girls had hits, and I told them after, if that's the worst game we play, we're going to be pretty good.”

South Knox hosts Dugger at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

South Knox |201 100 0 — 4 10 4

Pike Central |020 014 x — 7 7 3

W-Chloe Williams. L-Jianna Hughes. 2B-SK, Lily Culp, Kenzie Johnson, Reagan Nowaskie.

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