Seven proved to be both a lucky and unlucky number for the Lady Mustangs Monday evening during their game against district rival Soddy-Daisy.
Walker Valley ultimately got the 7-6 win over the Lady Trojans, but they certainly didn’t make things easy on themselves. The Lady Mustangs racked up a total of seven errors early on in the game, with a majority coming from a near-disastrous top of the fourth.
“I am super proud of my girls for continuing to fight. They never gave up and it would have been easy to give up after that inning, but they just kept fighting. I think that shows their heart and their fire,” Lady Mustang head coach Lauren Limburg said. “Soddy-Daisy is an excellent team, take nothing away from them. They played their hearts out, they got hits and they did what they needed to do. They scored runs and played great defense and I’m just proud of our girls for getting this win.”
Hallie Davis came up to the plate first for the home team and got things started with a home run. A ground ball by Sidney Hooper was enough to get her to first.
Soddy’s pitcher walked both AJ Chancey and Rachel Percy, loading the bases for Walker Valley with only one out.
Bayleigh Morgan attempted to capitalize on the situation, but her hit was caught and left the three runners on base with one out remaining.
The Lady Mustangs’ second run immediately followed when Alicia Raymond was hit by a pitch, resulting in Hooper being walked in.
The Lady Trojans were unable to get anything going until the third inning when they got their first run. The third was when the first two of Walker Valley’s errors occurred.
Soddy-Daisy’s defense quickly wrapped up the inning, and never allowed a Lady Mustang runner to ever make it to first.
Going into the top of the fourth, Walker Valley still had a one-run lead over the visitors. This lead soon became a four-run deficit after five Lady Mustang errors paved the way for Soddy-Daisy to score five runs.
Winning pitcher Hooper only had one earned run in Monday’s game, which was not one of the five runs scored in the fourth inning. Hooper struck out eight Lady Trojans and walked only one.
While most teams would be unable to recover from such a costly inning, Walker Valley proved to be the exception. If the Lady Trojans were able to get into the Lady Mustangs’ heads, it was not evident, as they came back to score five runs of their own.
“It goes back to their mindset, focus, and their willingness to fight. That’s something that you can’t teach, it’s got to be within you. That is what makes this group so special,” Limburg explained.
There were already two outs by the time the home team got around to scoring in the bottom of the fourth.
A sacrifice hit from Lara Bean advanced Raymond to second base. Following that play, Davis was walked to first.
Baylee Boen blasted a hit into center field and drove Raymond home. Hooper came up to bat with runners in scoring position and was able to bring Davis in for the second run of the inning.
Chancey was walked, setting the Lady Mustangs up for another bases loaded situation. Rachel Percy’s hit to left field brought home Boen.
The Lady Trojans made a change in pitchers, but were unable to successfully work their way out of loaded bases.
Hooper was able to run in thanks to a wild pitch, tying up the game 6-6. Following the stolen run, Morgan was walked and once again the bases were loaded.
Raymond was up to bat once again, and made it to first while the Soddy shortstop failed to tag out Percy. Amid the flurry of action, Chancey was able to make it home for what would be the game winning run.
The remainder of the game was a battle between the two schools’ defense, a battle which the Lady Mustangs were able to win.
With only one out, a Lady Trojan managed to hit a double. The 2012 state champions now had the chance to tie up or win the game when their next hitter came up to bat. Her hit was caught by Davis, who was able to complete a game-ending double play by getting the lone Soddy-Daisy base runner tagged out at second.
“They all make plays like that all the time. That one was at the end of the game with everyone’s eyes on her (Davis),” Limburg commented. “She made a heck of a play and saved that hit and saved us from potentially going into the bottom of the inning or extra innings. That was huge, that was a big play and I’m just proud of her and the whole team’s effort.”
Walker Valley now has a two game lead over Soddy-Daisy in the district and hopes to extend that to a three game lead as they travel to Ooltewah tonight for a game beginning at 5 p.m.
“Every district win is a big win because our goal has been all along to win the district championship. We’ve got to position ourselves in the best possible place and you do that in the regular season. I told the girls that we’ve got to get ready for Ooltewah because it’s going to be a big test for us,” Limburg said after the thrilling win.
Having a perfect record in the district means that the Lady Mustangs have a target on their back, but Limburg maintains her team will keep going out and playing their game every outing.
“All we can do is go out, regardless of who the opponent is, and play our game. Focus in on our pitches, focus in defense and fight until the very last out.”
Soddy-Daisy 001 500 0 — 6 8 1
Walker Valley 200 500 x — 7 8 7
WP: Sidney Hooper (15-3) 7 IP, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits, 1 ER. LP: Emily Edwards (5-3) HR: Hallie Davis Highlights: Davis 2-3, RBI, 2 runs; Hooper 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Alicia Raymond 1-2, 2 RBI, run; Records: Walker Valley 19-3, 7-0 5-AAA; Soddy-Daisy 17-6, 7-2.