Walker Valley’s Lady Mustangs had perhaps their most impressive outing of the young softball season Thursday afternoon, turning back a good Chattanooga Central team for an impressive 13-4 win.
Coach Lauren Limburg’s team scored quickly with three runs in the opening frame and was not seriously threatened in the contest.
The Lady Purple Pounders rallied with two long home run in the top of the second, but Walker Valley then pulled away with a fourth run in the second, four more in the fourth and five in the fifth. Central got two addition runs in the top of the fifth, but was down by six (8-2) at that time.
“It was a total team effort,” said Limburg after the game. We hit the ball well, played good defense and everyone contributed.”
The Walker Valley coach also praised the Central team. “They’re a very good team,” she said. “This was a good win for us.”
Chattanooga Central Coach Lee Anne Shurette was disappointed with the Lady Pounders’ defense, which gave up four errors, including three straight in the fourth inning. “We usually play better defense than this,” she said, but added she didn’t want to take anything away from the Walker Valley effort.
The Lady Pounders had to go without their No. 1 pitcher, Shelby Willard, who sprained her wrist while running the bases during a win at Polk County Monday.
“She tried to warm up, but just couldn’t go,” said Shurette. “We decided it was best to rest her for this game.”
Sidney Hooper got the mound decision for the Lady Mustangs, getting four strikeouts and a single walk in the top of the seventh. Chasidy Ainslie was charged with the loss for Central, recording two strikeouts and suffering seven walks.
Both teams hit the softball well, with Walker Valley’s hits being a little more numerous and productive.
Morgan Elrod and Hooper paced the Lady Mustangs at the plate. Hooper slammed a grand slam over the left field fence in the fifth for 4 RBIs. Elrod had a double and single in Walker Valley’s 11-hit attack.
Leslie Still had a three-run double, while Baylee Boen and Bayleigh Morgan each had two singles. Walker Valley’s other three hits, all singles, came from Kayla Sewell, Laurel Allen and Allie Morrow.
Chattanooga Central also had some big hits. Sara Walker and Ainslie had home runs in the Lady Pounders’ two-run second inning, which caused a little concern for the Lady Mustangs at the time. Standout catcher Hannah Powell connected for a triple, and Brook Womack and Brooke Eller had singles among the visitors five safeties.
Walker Valley scored early. Boen and Hooper drew two of Ainslie’s seven walks, and Still got her double to load the bases in the first inning. Still then connected for her double to clear the bases.
Central came right back with the two home runs in the second to close the gap to 3-2.
Walker Valley made it 4-2 in the second when Elrod singled and later came home on an error.
The Lady Mustangs took control in the fourth with singles by Morgan, Allen and Morrow and three consecutive errors by the Lady Pounders for four runs.
Central got two runs in the fifth on an error, Powell’s triple and a fielder’s choice.
Walker Valley plated five runs in the bottom of the fifth on Elrod’s double, a single by Morgan, a walk to Allen, a single by Boen (for one run) and Hooper’s grand slam.
Hooper breezed through the top of the sixth on the mound, then got some defensive help in the seventh after allowing a lead-off single and her only walk of the game.
Pleased with the win, coach Limburg was still apprehensive about next week when the Lady Mustangs will jump into District 5-AAA play. The Lady Mustangs play Grace Academy Monday, then take on Bradley Central and Cleveland Tuesday and Thursday.