Facing just three Bearette batters in six of the seven innings, Hooper got out of the only threat she faced with a two-hit, complete-game effort as the Lady Mustangs posted a 4-0 victory.
“Sidney pitched a great game and the rest of the girls played excellent defense behind her,” praised Walker Valley second-year head coach Lauren Limburg. “I’m so proud of the way we came through when we needed to. What more could we ask of them (the players)?”
The lone negative on the day for the home team was they left eight runners on base. “We had nine hits and got a few more girls on by errors and we only got four runs,” commented coach Limburg. “We need to do a better job of capitalizing on our opportunities.”
The Lady Mustangs (3-1, 2-0 District 5-AAA) will need to be on top of their game this evening as they travel to Soddy-Daisy, which has been in the state championship game the last two years and is 4-0 so far this season.
Bradley (1-5, 0-3) will also hit the road this evening for a trip to Athens to face McMinn County in a district showdown.
The Bearettes had the first chance to score Wednesday evening as Meghan Ward drove the first pitch of the second inning into left field for a solid single. Junior Baylee Carroll was then hit by a pitch and Tori Roberts laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
After Hooper bore down to strike out the next batter, she made just her second mistake of the night when she plunked Darla Herron with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. The Lady Mustang hurler regained her composure and fanned the next batter to end the threat.
Bradley’s only other base runner the rest of the way was when Courtney Webb beat out an infield hit in the third frame, but then was doubled off after the next batter flew out. Sitting down the final 13 in order, Hooper finished with eight Ks on the night and didn’t walk a batter.
After stranding a base runner in each of the first three innings, Walker Valley got its offense going in the fourth after Leslie Still sent a one-out shot between an infielder’s legs.
Morgan Elrod, Allie Morrow and Rachel Percy then stroked back-to-back-to-back doubles to plate three runs. Elrod’s shot to the left-center field gap brought Still around. Morrow fired a shot just inside the third base bag to trade places with Elrod before Percy brought up chalk on the left field line to do the same.
The Lady Mustangs tacked on an insurance run when Morrow, who went 3-for-3 on the night, opened the bottom of the sixth with a single. After Percy bunted her to second, Hallie Davis and Baylee Boen both stroked two-out singles, the second of which Morrow came home on.
“We had one bad inning and that was it,” declared Bradley assistant coach Terry McElhaney. “We made too many errors and didn’t get runners in when we had the chance. This is a disappointing loss.”
“I felt like Allison (Conley, the Bearette pitcher), kept their hitters off balance well,” he added. “We had too many unacceptable errors.”
LADY MUSTANGS 4, BEARETTES 0
Bradley Central 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Walker Valley 000 301 x — 4 9 0
WP: Sidney Hooper 7 IP, 8 Ks, 0 BB, 2 H, 0 ER. LP: Allison Conley 6 IP, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 9 H, 3 ER. 2B: Allie Morrow, Morgan Elrod, Rachel Percy (WV). RBIs: Elrod, Morrow, Perey, Baylee Boen (WV). Highlights: Morrow 3-for-3, 2B, 2 r, RBI, Hooper 2-for-4 (WV). Records: Bradley Central 1-5, 0-3 District 5-AAA; Walker Valley 3-1, 2-0 District 5-AAA.