In what has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the district, Walker Valley and Soddy-Daisy, who have tangled for the last two district crowns, were back battling tooth-and-nail until a one-out double by junior Alicia Raymond in the bottom of the seventh gave the “Feisty Fillies” a 5-4 victory.
“Any district win is a big win, but to beat an excellent team like Soddy, which came here to play and fought the whole way, is really big,” proclaimed Lady Mustang head coach Lauren Limburg.
“Our girls showed their character again tonight. We never quit,” she declared. “This was another total team effort, with hits all up and down the lineup, great defensive plays and Alicia (Raymond) giving another strong pitching performance.”
Now 8-1 on the season and a perfect 4-0 in district games, Walker Valley will travel to Cleveland High for another 5-AAA matchup Thursday, before heading to the Gulf Coast Classic II over the weekend for some spring break tournament action at Orange Beach, Ala.
The Lady Mustangs let the visitors know early this was going to be another tough battle Tuesday as they used a double play off a line drive to erase Soddy’s first base runner and end the top of the first inning.
Senior Baylee Boen opened Walker Valley’s first at bat with an infield hit, but even though the hosts were able to load the bases thanks to a walk and a hit batsman, the Lady Trojans (3-1, 1-1 District 5-AAA) kept a goose egg on the scoreboard with a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
After both teams went down in order in the second frame, Soddy tried to get something going again in the top of the third with back-to-back one-out singles, but the Lady Mustang defense answered the call with a pair of groundouts to keep the game scoreless.
In its half of the third, Walker Valley hit a full gallop, but even though they pounded out five hits, only two “Fillies” cross home plate.
Boen started the rally with her second of three hits in the contest, but was erased on a fielder’s choice.
Juniors Hallie Davis and AJ Chancey followed with singles, but a Lady Mustang was gunned down at the plate trying to score.
Junior Mackenzie Elrod and Raymond then came through with consecutive two-out hits to plate Davis and Chancey for the game’s first two runs.
Soddy-Daisy freshman Cameron Swafford opened the fourth with a double, but never advanced as Raymond sat down the next three batters in order.
Neither team scored again until the sixth, when the visitors exploded for four hits to knot the game at 2-all.
After the game was tied, the Lady Trojans had runners on second and third, but they were left stranded when Davis, an all-state second baseman as a sophomore last season, made a tremendous diving stab of a hot shot to her right, and then twisted and threw the batter out at first to kill the rally.
Walker Valley went back up by a run in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore Emilee Spann ripped a one-out single, moved to second on a passed ball and then scored when Boen dropped in a double in front of a diving Lady Trojan center fielder.
With neither team giving an inch, Soddy came right back in the top of the seventh and took advantage of Raymond’s only walk of the night. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, Brooke Hale laced a double just inside the left field line to even the score once again.
The visitors put Walker Valley’s backs to the wall a few moments later when Hale came around to score on a two-out hit by Swafford.
With the heart of their batting order due up, the Lady Mustangs stepped confidently to the plate in the game’s final at bat.
Davis led the rally off with a shot that seemed to be headed out of the park, but a Lady Trojan outfielder reached over the top of the fence and got a glove on it, bringing it back into the field of play for a double.
After cleanup hitter Chancey gave herself up with a bunt to move Davis to third, Elrod stepped in the box and worked the Soddy pitcher for a 12-pitch walk.
Freshman Sydney Ventura came on as a pinch runner for Elrod and promptly stole second base.
With both runners in scoring position, Raymond helped her own cause with a chalk-line shot the a diving Soddy left fielder just barely missed.
When the dust settled, both runners had scored and Raymond stood on second base with a big smile as her teammates rushed to her.
Although her streak of 22 straight innings without giving up an earned run was snapped Saturday in a Hendersonville tournament, Raymond had gone another seven without allowing a run until Soddy scored in the sixth and seventh frames Tuesday. She is now 5-1 in the circle so far this season.
Raymond went 2-for-4 at the dish and drove in three teammates, including two to win the game.
The 11 Walker Valley hits were spread out among seven batters with Boen leading the way, going 3-for-4, while Davis reached base three times with a pair of hits and a walk, scoring twice.
“I’m so proud of these girls (Lady Mustangs),” Coach Limburg proclaimed. “Their work ethic in showing through. We have 18 girls show up ready to do whatever it takes to win every time we play.”
Walker Valley went 4-1 at the Commando Classic over the weekend, defeating Cumberland County (8-0), Cheatham County (9-1), Hendersonville (2-1) and Davy Crockett (4-3) before falling to Clarksville (2-1).
The “Feisty Fillies” are 4-1 in one-run games so far this season.
Soddy-Daisy 000 002 2 — 4 10 0
Walker Valley 002 001 2 — 5 11 0
WP: Alicia Raymond (5-1) 7 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 10 hits, 4 ER; LP: Emily Edwards 7 IP, 3 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 11 hits, 5 ER; 2B: Brooke Hale, Cameron Swafford (SD); Alicia Raymond, Hallie Davis (WV); RBI: Haley Reynolds, Grayson Brown, Swafford, Hale (SD); Raymond 3, Mackenzie Elrod, Baylee Boen (WV). Highlights: Swafford 2-4, 2B, RBI; Jessica Boles 2-4, run; Shana Ward 1-2, BB (SD); Boen 3-4, RBI; Davis 2-3, 2B, BB, 2 runs; Raymond 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, GW hit; Elrod 1-3, BB, RBI (WV). Records: Soddy-Daisy 3-1, 1-1 District 5-AAA; Walker Valley 8-1, 3-0 District 5-AAA.