Banner Sports Editor
MANCHESTER — Walker Valley softball coach Lauren Limburg will probably spend at least a bit of time this summer wondering, “What if?” What if the Lady Mustangs had found a base hit in the first inning? What if that two-out ground ball in the sixth had been just a little more to the right or left? What if Walker Valley had come up with one more hit in the seventh?
Limburg and the Lady Mustangs did everything they could to extend their season against Coffee County Monday night in Manchester. Everything but get the breaks they needed to avoid the 2-0 loss to the Lady Raiders that ended their season.
“I’m just so proud of the girls. They left it all out on the field. Things just didn’t fall our way. We didn’t get some key hits when we needed them. It was not just one play, it was a culmination of the whole game. We just came up short,” said Limburg after her final postgame chat of the season with her team. “But, I’m really proud of the girls. They have given everything I’ve asked them to give all season and they went farther than most people believed they would. I told them how proud of them I am for their effort and hard work. And they should be proud of themselves.”
Mustangs pitcher Sidney Hooper did her part tossing a masterful five hitter. Out of the Coffee County (30-10) dugout, Lady Raiders hurler Brianna Jones held Walker Valley (25-11) to three hits, a fifth-inning single, a sixth-inning double and one final single in the seventh.
The Lady Mustangs got runners on in the top of the first inning on a Coffee County error and hit batter, but both were left stranded.
The Lady Raiders got all the offense they needed in the bottom half of the third on a home run by Anna Spellings.
A diving catch on a bloop liner by Walker Valley second baseman Baylee Boen helped squelch a potential Coffee County rally in the fourth. But, two singles in the fifth put an insurance run on the board for the Lady Raiders.
After a single by Eryn Walker to open the fifth was erased on a heads-up pickoff play by the Lady Raiders, Hallie Davis kept the Lady Mustangs alive with a 1-out double in the sixth. Sidney Hooper then worked Brianna Jones for a walk with two outs. But, Jones got a ground ball to end the inning.
Mackenzie Elrod opened the Walker Valley seventh with a single only to watch as two strikeouts and a fly ball to left field ended the game.
“Sidney pitched a great game. She pitched a wonderful game. Her spins were working. And their pitcher did an awesome job. She was hitting her spots and her spins were working also. It was a great pitchers’ duel for sure,” said Limburg.
LADY RAIDERS 2, LADY MUSTANGS 0
Walker Valley 000 000 0 — 0 3 0
Coffee County 001 010 x — 2 5 1
WP: Brianna Jones. LP: Sidney Hooper. HR: Anna Spellings. 2B: Hallie Davis. Highlights: Bricen Hunt 2-3 (CC). Records: Walker Valley 25-11; Coffee County 30-10.