Despite out scoring its three District 5-AAA Fast-Pitch Tournament opponents by a 25-7 margin, Walker Valley is having to fight back from the event’s loser’s bracket in search of a Region 3-AAA berth.
Sandwiched between a 10-0 victory over Bradley Central Friday and a 12-2 whipping of McMinn County Saturday, the third-seeded “Feisty Fillies” dropped a tough 5-3 contest to Soddy-Daisy, the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
Making Monday’s Final Four, Walker Valley (29-13) will tangle with top-seeded East Hamilton (24-9), which got knocked off by No 4 seed Ooltewah 9-1 Saturday morning. The teams split their two meetings during the regular season and square off in an elimination game at 5 p.m.
The Lady Owls (28-9) will look to repay Soddy-Daisy (27-6) for a pair of regular season defeats in Monday evening’s winner’s bracket final at 7 at Cleveland High’s Brenda McKenzie Lawson Field.
Both the host Lady Raiders and young Bradley Central squads saw their seasons come to a close Saturday.
Having dropped opening round games Friday, the old rivals locked horns Saturday morning with the Bearettes coming out on top in a 4-3 tooth-and-nail tangle. Bradley then turned around and felt the wrath of an angry East Hamilton squad in a 15-5 deluge.
LADY MUSTANGS 12
LADY CHEROKEES 2
After being held to just three runs earlier in the day, Walker Valley put a 4-spot on the scoreboard in its opening at bat and never looked back.
The Lady Mustangs added a pair of second inning runs, a solo score in the third, two more in the fourth and then capped off the run-rule victory with three in the fifth.
Junior all-stater Hallie Davis led the dozen-hit Walker Valley attack with a pair of home runs in her 4-for-4 performance, driving in four runs.
The blasts, coupled with a grand slam the night before, brings her total to 13 round-trippers on the season.
Junior Mackenzie Elrod helped out the victors by going 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Lara Bean was 2-for-3 at the dish with a “ribbie” of her own.
Junior Alicia Raymond earned the pitching victory, scattering four hits and giving up a pair of earned runs in the top of the fifth frame.
She helped her own cause with a two-run single, while AJ Chancey also drove home a teammate.
“This is a new season,” declared Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg. “The past doesn’t matter. I’m very proud of the way we are playing right now.”
“Davis is a leader on this team. She is playing excellent defense and is solid at the plate,” the coach commented. “All of the girls have worked hard, put in extra time and effort.”
LADY TROJANS 5
LADY MUSTANGS 3
Walker Valley spotted Soddy-Daisy a three-run lead in the opening inning and had to try to climb out of the hole the rest of the way.
The Lady Mustangs didn’t put a run on the board until sophomore Emilee Spann, who went 3-for-3 in the contest, blasted her second home run in as many games to open the top of the fifth.
Soddy matched that in the bottom of the frame when Haley Reynolds put a solo shot in the parking lot.
The “Fillies” kept bucking in the sixth when Chancey drew a one-out walk and Raymond ripped a single to left.
Courtesy runners Madison Russo and Sydney Ventura moved up a base on a wild pitch before Elrod lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate one run and Spann followed with a RBI-single for the other to close the gap to a single run.
The Lady Trojans pushed that gap open just a little with a solo homer by Abby Walker to open the bottom half of the sixth frame.
Senior Baylee Boen opened the top of the seventh with a single, but was doubled off when classmate Rachel Percy’s sinking line drive was caught shoe-top high by the Lady Trojan second baseman.
Still not willing to surrender, Walker Valley got a two-out double by Davis, while Chancey and Raymond worked walks to load the bases before the final out was recorded.
LADY RAIDERS 3
Bradley got on the board quickly with a pair runs in its first at bat.
Sydney Morgan led off the bottom of the first with an infield hit, moved to second on a wild pitch and third when Von Harrison, who went 3-for-3 in the game, beat out a bunt attempt. She scored on a sac fly by Emmaly Morgan.
Harrison came around to score when she stole second, but the throw went into the outfield, allowing her to get to third, at which point the second throw landed in the dugout.
Cleveland cut the lead in half in the top of the second when Brittany Arnold drew a walk, was bunted to second by Teliyah Cobb and then came home on a single by Gracyn Walkup.
The Lady Raiders were able to even the score in the top of the fourth when Arnold and Cobb drew back-to-back free passes, and were bunted up by Walkup.
Brina Lovelace followed with a single to plate Arnold, but when Cobb tried to score as well, Bearette Britlee Ogle gunned her down from center field.
The hosts took the lead when Ambra Belcher drew a walk in the top of the sixth, moved up on a Bearette error and came around to score when Walkup laced a two-out single.
Bradley answered in the bottom of the frame. Jenn Corbitt and Abby Abernathy roped back-to-back, one-out singles.
Emily Colbaugh laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached safely when the ball wasn’t thrown.
Olivia Williams followed with a single to plate Corbitt to even the score before Chanler Grady brought in Colbaugh from second with the game-winner on an infield hit.
LADY HURRICANES 15
“Other than the first inning we tied them 5-5,” joked Bradley coach Christie McElhaney.
True, but the top-seeded East Hamilton squad exploded for 10 runs in its opening at bat.
After getting stunned 9-1 by Ooltewah in Saturday’s opening game, the Lady Hurricanes, who have been to the last two TSSAA State Tournaments, bounced back for a 15-5, six-inning win to advance to Monday’s Final Four.
With no experienced pitching returning from last year, and no seniors taking the field this season (the two they have were injured all year), the Bearettes finish their season with a 9-16 record.
“The girls improved throughout the year and they never gave up,” Coach McElhaney stated. “We have a lot to look forward to and to build on.”
Harrison led the Bearette effort against the district newcomers with a two-run homer and a single in four trips to the plate.
Williams helped out with a double and a single, while Sydney Morgan, Kallie Hawkins, Corbitt and Abernathy each had a hit. Corbitt and Emily Colbaugh also drove in a run apiece.
LADY MUSTANGS 10
Walker Valley scored in its first and last at bat to support a near-perfect pitching performance by Raymond at Larry Haney Field Friday evening in the district’s opening round action.
The Lady Mustangs put four runs in the scoreboard in their initial at bat and then tacked on six more in the bottom of the six, highlight by Davis’ grand slam to bring the contest to a close.
For her part, Raymond set down the first dozen batters she faced and only allowed one ball to reach the outfield grass.
Hawkins led off the top of the fifth frame for Bradley with a solid single to left field.
Colbaugh followed with an infield hit when she beat out a bunt. Raymond quickly regrouped and got the final six outs all in a row.
The Lady Mustangs got the scoring going in the first inning when Percy was hit by a pitch, Davis singled, Chancey walked to load the bases before Raymond helped herself with a two-run single.
Bearette left field Sydney Morgan then turned what would have been a Mackenzie Elrod three-run homer into a sacrifice fly by reaching over the top of the fence for the catch.
Spann started her red-hot tournament with a RBI-double to wrap up the rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, Spann got things going with her first home run of the regular season. “I had one against GPS in a preseason scrimmage game,” she explained.
Bean followed with a single off the left field fence, Carly Frost then reached on a fielder’s choice that went awry.
Tennessee Wesleyan signees Boen and Percy followed with back-to-back singles, the second of which plated a run.
Davis then stepped into the batter’s box and delivered her home run well over the trees past the right-center field fence to end the game early.
Davis went 3-for-4 in the contest, while Spann was 2-for-3. Both had a round-tripper and a two-bagger.
Bean also went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, while Percy got on base twice with a single and was hit by a pitch, scoring both times.
“It was a great way to start the tournament,” declared Coach Limburg. “We were focused and had a plan at the plate.”
“Alicia was excellent, hitting her spots and being very efficient with her pitches. She also fielded her position great (getting eight outs herself).”
“Our defense played very solid behind her,” the coach added.
McMinn County 000 02 — 2 4 4
Walker Valley 421 23 — 12 12 1
WP: Alicia Raymond 5 IP, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 4 hits, 2 ER; LP: Courtney Benson 5 IP, 1 K, 5 BB, 12 hits, 7 ER. HRs: Hallie Davis 2 (12, 13) (WV). RBIs: Davis 4, Raymond 2, Lara Bean, MacKenzie Elrod, AJ Chancey (WV). Highlights: Davis 4-4, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs; Elrod 3-4, RBI; Bean 2-3, RBI; Raymond 1-3, 2 RBIs (WV). Records: McMinn County 16-16; Walker Valley 29-13.
Walker Valley 000 012 0 — 3 8 0
Soddy-Daisy 300 011 x — 5 11 0
WP: Shonna Penney 5.2 IP, 7 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 6 hits, 3 ER; LP: Alicia Raymond 6 IP, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 11 hits, 5 ER. Save: Emily Edwards 1.1 IP 1 K, 2 BB, 2 hits, 0 ER. HR: Emilee Spann (2) (WV); Haley Reynolds, Abby Walker (SD). 2B: Davis (WV); Reynolds (SD). RBIs: Spann 2, Mackenzie Elrod (WV); Reynolds 2, Grayson Brown, Shana Ward, Walker. Highlights: Spann 3-3, HR, 2 RBIs; Davis 1-3, 2B, HBP; AJ Chancey 2 BBs; Raymond 1-2, BB (WV); Reynolds 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Ward 3-3, RBI; Walker 2-3, HR, RBI (SD). Records: Walker Valley 28-13; Soddy-Daisy 27-6.
Cleveland 010 101 0 — 3 4 2
Bradley Central 200 004 x — 4 10 1
WP: Jenn Corbitt 7 IP, 2 Ks, 5 BB, 4 hits, 2 ER; LP: Haley Hodgson 6 IP, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 10 hits, 3 ER. 2B: Von Harrison (BC); RBIs: Gracyn Walkup 2, Brina Lovelace (C); Emmaly Morgan, Olivia Williams, Chanler Grady (BC). Highlights: Gracyn Walkup 2-2, 2 RBIs; Brittany Arnold 2 BB, run; Grace Fugate 1-2, BB; Lovelace 1-3, RBI (C); Von Harrison 3-3, 2B, 2 SBs, run; Emmaly Morgan 1-2, RBI;Olivia Williams 2-3, RBI (BC). Records: Cleveland 2-21; Bradley Central 9-15.
Bradley Central 000 050 — 5 8 4
East Hamilton (10)20 012 — 15 10 1
WP: Rachel Gauble; LP: Jenn Corbitt. HR: Von Harrison (BC). 2B: Olivia Williamss (BC); RBIs: Harrison 2, Corbitt, Emily Colbaugh (BC). Highlights: Harrison 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs; Williams 2-3, 2B; Singles by Abbey Abernathy, Corbitt, Kallie Hawkins and Sydney Morgan (BC) No individual info for EH was available. Records: Bradley Central 9-16; East Hamilton 24-9.
Bradley Central 000 000 — 0 2 0
Walker Valley 400 006 — 10 10 0
WP: Alicia Raymond 6 IP, 0 Ks, 0 BB, 2 hits, 0 ER; LP: Chanler Grady 6 IP, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 10 hits, 10 ER. HR: Emilee Spann (1), Hallie Davis (11) (WV). 2B: Spann, Lara Bean, Davis (WV); RBIs: Davis 4, Spann 2, Raymond 2, Mackenzie Elrod, Rachel Percy (WV). Highlights: Kallie Hawkins 1-2; Emily Colbaugh 1-2 (BC); Davis 3-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 runs; Spann 2-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs, run; Raymond 1-2, BB, 2 RBIs; Bean 2-3, 2B, run; Percy 1-3, HBP, RBI, 2 runs; (WV). Records: Bradley Central 8-15; Walker Valley 28-12.