In the end, Walker Valley’s starter Sidney Hooper outdueled her McMinn counterpart as the Lady Mustangs walked off the field on the winning end of a 2-0 final.
“Sidney pitched a really good game. Her pitches had a lot of movement. She was in control. They have some really good hitters, and for her to go out and get strikes meant a lot,” stated Walker Valley softball coach Lauren Limburg.
Hooper was lights out for the most part, going seven strong and shutting out the Lady Cherokees while allowing just four hits.
Walker Valley also flashed the leather making some solid defensive stands, helping end a few early jams to preserve the shutout.
“We also played some excellent defense tonight. The girls were where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there. I couldn’t ask more than that on the defensive side for sure,” Limburg said.
The offense didn’t waste any time either and was aided by a trifecta of McMinn errors.
Hallie Davis led off the home half of the first when she capitalized on a Lady Cherokee error to reach safely.
Baylee Boen slapped a single that advanced Davis and then moved to second on the throw to third, and then Hooper helped herself by bringing Davis home with an RBI groundout to give the Lady Mustangs the early lead.
McMinn looked to strike back in the top of the second when it notched back-to-back singles. But, Hooper decided she had seen enough of that and rung up the next three batters to end the threat.
Both starters settled in after that and retired batters with ease.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth another McMinn error proved costly when Leslie Still reached safely on a miscue.
Mackenzie Elrod followed with a single, Allie Morrow advanced Still to third with a sacrifice groundout and Rachel Percy brought her home with an RBI single to cap the game’s scoring at 2-0.
Despite the win, Limburg saw some areas to improve at the plate if the girls want to reach their full potential.
“We had a hard time at the plate tonight. We fought through, though. McMinn threw a great game, but it was hard for us tonight for sure,” stated Limburg.
The Lady Mustangs will be on the road next as they travel to Benton on Thursday to face off against the Polk County Lady Wildcats. Start time is scheduled for 5.
LADY MUSTANGS 2, LADY CHEROKEES 0
McMinn County 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Walker Valley 100 001 x — 2 5 0
WP: Sidney Hooper 7 IP, 9 Ks, 0 BB, 4 H, 0 ER. RBI: Hooper, Rachel Percy (WV). Records: McMinn County 3-7, 0-4 District 5-AAA; Walker Valley 12-3, 4-1 District 5-AAA.