Softball district to open Friday
by JOE CANNON Banner Assistant Sports Editor
May 01, 2014 | 523 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

If Mother Nature allows, the top-seed for the District 5-AAA softball tournament will be determined on the field this evening.

If the Grand Old Dame doesn’t, then the district tiebreaker rules will have to be used.

League newcomer East Hamilton (23-8) and perennial powerhouse Soddy-Daisy (25-6) are both 9-2 in district play and have been trying to play each other every day this week, but the inclement weather has prevented it.

If the soggy Lady Trojan home field is unable to be played on again this evening, then the Lady Hurricanes will get the No. 1 spot, due to having nipped Soddy 6-5 in their previous meeting this season.

If the teams are able to play and the Lady Trojans prevail, they would get the top seed, due to having swept fourth-seeded Ooltewah during the regular season, while East Hamilton split their two games against Coach Norma Nelson’s former team.

Either way the district tournament will open Friday at the home of the higher seeds before moving to Cleveland High’s Brenda McKenzie Lawson Field for the remainder of the tournament.

The opening round has a pair of Bradley County teams squaring off as sixth-seeded Bradley Central (8-14, 3-9) will travel to the north end of the county to face Walker Valley (27-12, 8-4), the event’s No. 3 seed.

The teams split their two games this season, with Coach Christie McElhaney’s young Bearettes (using as many as six freshman starters) stunning the veteran Lady Mustangs 4-2 the last time they were at Larry Haney Field.

After opening the campaign with seven straight victories and winning 14 of their first 16 games, Coach Lauren Limburg’s “Feisty Fillies” ran into some injury and consistency problems causing them to go 13-10 since.

Walker Valley blanked Bradley 13-0 in their first meeting during the season’s opening week. Friday’s game will start at 5 p.m.

Also in the opening round, Coach Connie Stobert’s Cleveland squad (2-19, 0-12) will travel to either East Hamilton or Soddy-Daisy, whichever ends up being the No. 2 seed.

If they face the Lady Hurricanes in Collegedale, the game will begin at 5 p.m., while a trip to Soddy will have a 6 p.m. first pitch.

The remaining opening round contest finds fifth-seeded McMinn County (16-14, 4-8) paying a visit to Ooltewah (26-9, 8-4), which lost out on a tiebreaker with Walker Valley for the No. 3 spot.

With the action shifting to Cleveland High Saturday, four games are on tap, beginning at 9 a.m.

The Ooltewah-McMinn victor will square off against the No. 1 in the day’s opener, while Friday’s other two winners will tangle at 11 a.m.

Saturday afternoon will find a pair of elimination games, with the Walker Valley/Bradley loser taking on the Cleveland/second-seed loser at 1, while the final game matchup will be contingent on earlier games.

Ooltewah has prom Saturday evening, so the Lady Owls will only play Saturday if they win Friday’s opener against the Lady Cherokees. Otherwise their game will be moved to Monday.

Saturday’s finale will either be Game 7 or Game 8, depending on which does not involve Ooltewah.

After taking Sunday off, the tournament will resume with three games Monday, with elimination games set for 4 and 6, while the winner’s bracket final will take the field at 8 p.m.

The loser’s bracket final and tournament championship games will be played Tuesday at 5 and 7 p.m., with a second title game Wednesday at 6 if necessary.

The top two teams from the event will advance to Region 3-AAA play the following week. Ticket prices each day are $6.

The District 5-AA fast-pitch postseason opens Friday as well, when Sweetwater and Loudon square off in the play-in game, with the winner to face top-seeded Polk County on Monday at 5:30 in Benton.

McMinn Central and Sequoyah will play in the other Monday contest.

Monday’s winners will battle Tuesday, as will Monday’s losers.

The loser’s bracket final will be played Wednesday with the district title to be decided Thursday. All 5-AA softball games will be played at the home of the higher seed.