The Bearettes didn't do everything exactly the way Christy McElhaney wanted them to, but they did enough grab and hold onto a lead over Walker Valley, eventually handing the Lady Mustangs their first loss in District 5-AAA softball.
The Bearettes got a stellar performance from Jenn Corbitt out of the circle and solid defense made the difference in the 4-2 victory.
"They're getting there. We've got six freshmen playing and I knew it would take us some time to develop some emotional stability," said Bearettes coach Christy McElhaney. "We are coming off a one-run ballgame from the other night and they have kind of been building on that and not getting rattled so much. They played well."
Lady Mustangs ace Alicia Raymond (10-4) took the loss for Walker Valley. Raymond handed the leather to Carly Frost in the top of the fourth with the Bearettes out front 2-1.
The victory by the Bearettes breaks a 16-game winning streak by the Lady Mustangs begun in April 2007. The loss also stopped Walker Valley’s 18-game regular season 5-AAA run. During the Walker Valley reign, the Lady Mustangs outscored the Bearettes 99-3. The win marks the first time the Bearettes have put a run on the board against the Lady Mustangs since March of 2011.
"I think we got outplayed, I think we got outhustled and I think Bradley wanted it," said Lady Mustangs coach Lauren Limberg. "They were up the whole game. They supported their pitcher when they were in the field and they supported their batters when they were hitting. They played a great ballgame and you have to tip your hat and say, ‘Great game.’ They played awesome. We obviously have work we need to do, for sure."
The Bearettes (4-7, 3-4 District 5-AAA) scored first in the top of the second. Emily Colbaugh led off with a single to center field and Emmaly Morgan walked one batter later. Sydney Morgan singled in the first Bradley run and Emmaly Morgan made it 2-0, scoring on a fielder's choice.
The Lady Mustangs (15-4, 5-1) made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second when AJ Chancey lifted a long fly to left field that dropped just in front of the fence. Chancey never stopped touching pads as Bradley had trouble getting the ball back to the infield. Chancey rounded third and scored easily on the inside the park home run.
Three scoreless innings passed before the Lady Mustangs put together a sequence of a walk and two hits to tie the game. Hallie Davis led off with a walk and stood on second after a Bradley error. A sacrifice by Chancey put Davis at third, from where she scored on a perfectly placed suicide squeeze bunt by MacKenzie Elrod to make it 2-2.
The Bearettes opened up in the top of the seventh.
Emmaly Morgan started off with a double to left-center field. The two-bagger ignited a string of four hits. Kallie Hawkins singled in front of an RBI single by Chanler Grady. Corbit loaded the bases with the fourth hit of the inning. Hawkins trotted home compliments of a walk by Frost to put the Bearettes out front 4-2.
From there, Corbitt and the Bearettes held off the Lady Mustangs to lock up their third district win of the season.
"Jen did a great job on the mound. She kept the ball moving and kept their batters off balance a little bit and the defense played behind her," said McElhaney. "The second half of the season we are 2-0. I'm proud of the way it's going. We've got a tough one Thursday against Ooltewah, so we will see how we match up with them."
Limberg said the Lady Mustangs must be patient at the plate and take what is given.
"We have to make adjustments. If the pitcher is throwing high or outside or wherever, we have to make adjustments. We have to be smart enough hitters to hit strikes and hit good pitches," she said. "We're just going to come back tomorrow and work as hard as we can to get better. Anytime you have adversity or anytime you have a loss it's how you respond, in life and in softball. We'll see what we're made of."
BEARETTES 4, LADY MUSTANGS 2
Bradley Central 020 000 2 — 4 8 2
Walker Valley 010 001 0 — 2 3 1
WP: Jenn Corbitt. LP: Alicia Raymond. HR: AJ Chancey (WV). 2B: Emmaly Morgan (BC); Raymond (WV). Highlights: Corbitt 2-4, Kallie Hawkins 2-3,. Emily Colbaugh 2-3 (BC); Chancey 2-3 (WV). Records: Bradley Central 4-7, 3-4; Walker Valley 15-4, 5-1.