Despite being just an eighth grader, Simpson pitcher Emily Collins looked like a veteran in the circle for the Lady Broncos.
Collins had nine strikeouts and gave up three hits in the Lady Broncos 6-0 win over Saline Thursday night in the Class C State Quarterfinals.
"I said before that we had some unfinished business," Simpson head coach Jessica Dooley said. "We came out and played our game. Now, we advance to Saturday. That's been our goal all along. We want to be here to play Saturday."
Simpson went up 1-0 early, and the bats came alive in the fourth inning as Simpson scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 4-0.
Catcher Sarah Flatt laid down a bunt to score Trinity Paris for the inning's first run, and Ashley Addison drove in Cheyanne Robertson for the inning's final run.
"I think we had to settle in to our game, on the offensive side," Dooley said. "Once we did, things ran a lot more smoothly. Sometimes you get out of sync when you see a pitcher you've never seen before. You just have to settle in, see what she's throwing and make an adjustment. That's what they did."
In the fifth, Emily Collins brought Kiersten Standifer in with a sac fly, and Flatt drove in Torrie Calcote to make it 6-0.
In the top of the seventh, Collins struck out a batter, induced a pop up and a ground ball as Simpson advanced to the semifinals.
"She handled difficult situations with composure," Dooley said of Collins. "That's something she's done all year long, but that' something you have to do when you're here. In the fourth inning, we had the bases load with no outs, and we got out of that without them scoring a single run. That tells me, No. 1, that my defense is working hard and we're making the plays we have to to be successful."
Flatt went 2-for-2 with two RBIs to lead the Lady Broncos at the plate.
No. 3 Simpson plays No. 7 Harrisonburg at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to try to advance to the state championship game at 5 p.m.
"At this point in the season, you just have to be a motivator," Dooley said. "Everything that they need to know has been instilled in them from January until now.
"The 9 a.m. is a little bit early, but we have to get our rest, get up and be ready to play. It doesn't matter time it is; you have to bring your game when you're playing in Sulphur."