Scoring in four of their five at bats, the Lady Mustangs posted their 25th win in 29 outings this season with an 11-1 whipping of fourth-seeded Ooltewah (20-15).
Walker Valley advances to tonight’s 8 p.m. winner’s bracket final with a Region 3-AAA Tournament berth on the line as they square off against Soddy-Daisy (25-11), which has played in the last three state title games. The Lady Trojans got past No. 3 seed Rhea County 4-1 in Tuesday night’s opener.
Bradley Central (9-18) kept its hopes alive with an 8-1 victory over crosstown rival Cleveland High, bringing a merciful close to a winless (0-30) season for the Lady Raiders.
The Bearettes will take on Ooltewah at 6 this evening in an elimination game, while the host Rhea County (22-17) squad will take on McMinn County (14-22) in a win or go home battle at 4 p.m.
Walker Valley scored its first four runs on just a pair of hits in its first two at bats Tuesday. Sophomore Hallie Davis got the ball rolling with a walk to open the bottom of the first and later scored on a wild pitch after another free pass and an error.
A trio of Lady Mustangs circled the bases in the bottom of the second when sophomore Alicia Reynolds and senior Brittany Nettles drew back-to-back base on balls and junior Baylee Boen reached on an unsuccessful fielder’s choice that drove in Reynolds.
Austin Peay signee Sidney Hooper laced an RBI-hit that not only scored Nettles, but Boen came into score when the throw to the plate got away.
Ooltewah’s lone run came in the top of the third when a two-out walk came back to haunt Walker Valley as Kelsey Chernack ripped a triple for the first Lady Owls’ hit of the game.
The Lady Mustangs exploded for a 5-spot in the bottom of the fourth as the first five batters reached base. Boen dropped down a bunt single, followed by a rip to right by Hooper. Sophomore AJ Chancey then roped a double into the right-center field gap to plate both of her teammates before junior Rachel Percy drew a walk. Senior Bayleigh Morgan helped out with a run-scoring double, while sophomore Mackenzie Elrod returned to the lineup to drive in a run as well.
Walker Valley closed out the victory in the fifth frame when Davis walked again and Boen reached on an error. Percy and Morgan drove them in with back-to-back singles to end the game early.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” declared Lady Mustang head coach Lauren Limburg. “Our intensity was up all day and we gave a total team effort with different people stepping up.”
“We’d been working on being more patient at the plate and swinging at better pitches and I felt like we did that tonight,” she added. “It feels like it’s been forever since we’ve played (six days), but we’ve been focused in practice and we’re looking forward to getting back into a game.”
Hooper and Percy led the Walker Valley offense with a pair of hits, a walk, an RBI and a run scored apiece. Hooper also fired a three-hitter from the circle, striking out five and walking just one. Morgan went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a scored a run.
LADY RAIDERS 1
Bradley jumped on its archrivals in a hurry Tuesday with four runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the second.
Senior Mikala Ard, who is heading to Tennessee Wesleyan on a soccer scholarship, led things off for Bradley with a single and after being bunted to second by Cleveland State signee Tori Roberts, sophomores Von Harrison and Abby Abernathy, plus senior Allison Conley, who will also become a Lady Cougar, followed with singles.
While Ard and Harrison both scored on passed balls, sophomore Chanler Grady plated the other two opening-inning runs with a single.
In the second frame, Roberts beat out a two-out infield single before Harrison blasted a home run over the left field wall.
Bradley added another score in the fourth inning when Ard tripled and Roberts brought her in with a single. The final run of the game came in the sixth as junior Keirstyn Blair, Ard and Roberts stroked consecutive singles to load the bases. Blair scored the run on a wild pitch.
Cleveland’s lone run came in the top of the second when Abi Dye reached on an error and then scored on another Bearette miscue.
“After we gave away that one run, we held solid the rest of the way,” proclaimed Bearette head coach Christie McElhaney. “We had some key hits, but we also left too many runners stranded.”
Bradley banged out 14 hits with Roberts going 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Harrison was 2-for-3, plus she drew a free pass and reached on a fielder’s choice, while plating a pair of teammates and scoring twice.
Ard went 3-for-4 on the day with a triple and two runs scored, while Grady was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
Conley went the distance on the rubber, striking out 10, walking just one and allowing only three hits and no earned runs. “Allison was in control the whole way,” said a proud coach McElhaney.
Shay Sparks, Haley Hodgson and Jasmine Martin had the three Lady Raider hits.
Ooltewah 001 00 — 1 3 3
Walker Valley 130 52 — 11 8 1
WP: Sidney Hooper (1-0) 5 IP, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 1 ER; LP: Cameron Baltimore 1 IP, 0 Ks, 2 BB, 1 hit, 0 ER. 3B: Kelsey Chernack (O). 2B: AJ Chancey (WV), Bayleigh Morgan (WV). RBI: Chancey 2, Morgan 2, Hooper, Baylee Boen, Mackenzie Elrod, Rachel Percy, (BC). Highlights: Chernack 2-3, 3B, RBI (O); Hooper 2-2, BB, RBI, run; Percy 2-2, BB, RBI, SB, run; Morgan 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, run (WV). Records: Ooltewah 20-15; Walker Valley 25-4.
Cleveland 010 000 0 — 1 3 1
Bradley Central 420 101 x — 8 14 3
WP: Allison Conley 7 IP, 10 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 0 ER; LP: Haley Hodgson 6 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 14 hits, 8 ER. HR: Von Harrison (BC). 3B: Mikala Ward (BC). 2B: Conley (BC). RBI: Chanler Grady 2, Harrison 2, Tori Roberts, (BC). Highlights: Shay Sparks 1-2; Hodgson 1-3; Jasmine Martin 1-3, reached on error (C); Roberts 3-3, RBI, run; Harrison 2-3 HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs, BB, reached on fielder’s choice; Ard 3-4, 3B, 2 runs; Conley 2-3, 2B; Grady 2-3, 2 RBI (BC). Records: Cleveland 0-30; Bradley Central 9-18.