Two free passes to first, two unfortunate miscues and two, two-run innings for the Lady Raiders (27-9) were just enough for the Lady Mustangs (26-7) to suffer a season-ending 4-1 loss.
“The girls all wanted it and fought hard,” Walker Valley head coach Lauren Limburg stated. “I told them that they don’t have anything to hold their heads down about because they gave it all they had to the very last pitch. That’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
The Lady Mustangs got on the board first in the top of the third, as sophomore Alicia Raymond was driven in from second thanks to a double by sophomore Hallie Davis.
“I was worried, Walker Valley has a very good team. Anytime we play anybody we take nobody for granted,” Coffee County head coach Terry Floyd commented.
The worries Floyd had were soon tempered though, as the Lady Raiders were able to take the lead in the bottom of the third.
Coffee County’s first batter, Brittany Williams, was walked, and Anna Spellings went for the sacrifice bunt. Lady Mustang catcher AJ Chancey attempted to get Spellings out at first, but her throw wound up a bit too high and found its way into the corner of right field.
Both Williams and Spellings were able to make it around to home, and just like that Walker Valley’s lead had turned into a one-run deficit.
In the bottom of the fifth Ginny Clayborne was hit by a pitch and took her place on first base. Bethany Baker followed with a home run, which Lady Mustang center fielder Baylee Boen was barely able to get a piece of before it managed its way over the fence. The home run added two more runs for the Lady Raiders.
“They never gave up, they just kept fighting. Even when they (Coffee County) scored two more runs, they still pushed hard and continued to fight for each other,” Limburg explained.
Any attempts by Walker Valley to get back in the game were thwarted by the combo of sophomore pitcher Brianna Jones (14-6), who struck out a total of 10 batters, and the defensive skills of the Lady Raiders.
Sidney Hooper (20-5) was impressive from the pitcher’s circle as well, striking out seven in the loss.
“Sidney pitched an excellent a ball game. Her ball was moving, her screwball was working awesome and she was hitting her spots. The defense did a really good job of backing her up,” Limburg explained.
The loss in Manchester put an end to the district 5-AAA undefeated regular season champions’ attempts at reaching the state tournament.
“We’ve had a great season and it’s tough to see it end here,” Limburg said. “I can’t say enough about this team. Not just their softball ability, but who they are as young ladies. I count it a privilege and honor to be their coach.”
Coffee County will play Soddy-Daisy, which defeated Cookeville Monday night 4-3, on Wednesday in the region finals.
Walker Valley 001 000 000 0 — 1 8 1
Coffee County 002 020 000 0 — 4 5 0
WP: Brianna Jones (14-6) 10 K. LP: Sidney Hooper (20-5) 7 K. HR: Bethany Baker (CC). 2B: Hallie Davis (WV). Highlights: Baker 1-2, 2 RBI (CC); Baylee Boen 2-4; Davis 1-4, RBI (WV). Records: Walker Valley 26-7; Coffee County 27-9.