After passing storms put the tournament in doubt, hours of field management and a breakthrough of sunshine made for a long Saturday of softball for teams in the MurMaid Mattress Lady Raider Cleveland Classic.
“I feel the tournament was a success,” said Cleveland coach and tournament director Connie Stobert. “We had to do some schedule adjusting but we had a good turnout and the weather ended up great. Everybody got games in and the girls got in a lot of play.”
The Cleveland Lady Raiders made the most of their first meeting with Red Bank at Cleveland Middle with an 8-2 time limit win over the Lady Lions. In their first bracket game against the same pride of Lions, the Lady Raiders then eliminated Red Bank in their first game of bracket play with a 9-4 win.
“The bats finally came around,” said Stobert. “That is what we have been waiting for. We put the ball in play and got a lot of quality contacts. Our defense was strong and we kept the errors to a minimum.”
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, the Lady Raiders blasted out of the shoot with five runs in their first at bat.
Singles by Abi Dye and Kayla Lee along with a double off the bat of Brittany Arnold combined with three Red Bank errors gave Cleveland a 5-1 lead.
The Lady Raiders made it 6-1 in the second off singles by Jacora Parker, Carly Frost and Arnold. The trio combined for six Cleveland hits with all three going 2-for-3 against the Lady Lions.
After a scoreless third, Red Bank made it 6-2. The Lady Raiders wasted little time making the run up in the bottom half of the inning. Parker picked up her second single but was later thrown out at the plate. Frost doubled to left field and scored when Nanea Haruo stepped in next and singled to left.
After again holding Red Bank scoreless in the top half of the fifth, Cleveland put a final run on the board before the time limit expired. Carly Davis singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kayla Lee, who also got the win out of the circle. One batter later, Davis crossed the plate when Mikaela Clements singled to center.
Lee gave up only two hits and walked only one batter. The Lady Raiders cranked out eight h.
“Kayla pitched two great games today. We have a very young and inexperienced staff with the exception of Yoshi (Hooks). They are working on finishing and finding mental toughness. She pitched a great game,” said Stobert.
After a long day of pool-play softball, the Bradley Central Bearettes’ tournament came to a close in their first bracket game with a 5-1 loss to Silverdale Baptist Academy.
Assistant Bearettes coach Terry McElhaney said the loss is another one that could have been avoided.
“We are not getting beat, we are beating ourselves,” he said. We’ve got to work through the mental part.”
The Lady Seahawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of three second inning singles. Silverdale picked up two more runs in the third with two doubles and a single.
The Bearettes mounted a mini rally in the bottom half of the fourth after Tori Roberts reached on a Silverdale error and scored on Von Harrison’s single to right-center field to make it 5-1.
“We can’t wait until the end of the game to rally. We’ve got to start putting up scores early. We have been playing solid defensively. We are just not getting the job done at the plate,” said McElhaney.
Bradley dropped its first game of the day to Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences by a 1-0 tally.