Coming into the tournament Walker Valley (18-14) was the No. 2 seed, while Soddy-Daisy (9-21) was the seventh.
Despite being the on-paper underdogs, the tournament-hosting Trojans were able to “walk” away with a decisive 10-4 win over the Mustangs.
“It didn’t work out like we had hoped for. They’re (Soddy-Daisy) a really good baseball team that lost a bunch of close games during the year,” Walker Valley head coach Joe Shamblin stated. “They got things going today and it worked out for them.”
It was Walker Valley who got on the board first with two runs coming in the bottom of the second.
Drew Lyles’ single and a hard hit to left field by Josh Poole got Mustangs runners on first and second base. Chase Prince followed up with a fielder’s choice, with Lyles tagged out at third.
Logan Melton’s hit drove courtesy runner (for Poole) Austin Scott in from second for the first run, leaving Prince poised at a scoring position from third. Prince scored when teammate Elijah Haynie drilled a hard hit to right field.
The Trojans answered immediately, taking advantage of a trio of free passes in the top of the third.
Soddy-Daisy left fielder Austin Hickey brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. One strikeout later, first baseman Caden Ricketts stepped up to the plate with the bases still loaded and hit a bomb over the fence for a grand slam.
“Our pitching did let us down a little bit today. We got ourselves in that five-run inning by walking the first two guys in the inning. That definitely was our Achilles’ heel today — 14 walks and hit batters. You’re not going to win many games like that,” Shamblin admitted.
Trailing the home team by three runs, Walker Valley struggled to get their bats swinging, slowed up by a combination of Trojan defense and pitcher Hunter Mayor’s efforts from the mound.
While the No. 2 seed struggled at the plate, the No. 7 seed was able to add solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Mustangs’ third run came in the bottom of the sixth. Poole got things started with double.
Melton laced a one-out single to plate courtesy runner Kelby DeJarnett.
Soddy-Daisy added another three runs in the top of the seventh, increasing their lead over Walker Valley to seven runs.
The final Mustangs run came from Kamren Barnes, who had recently returned to the batting lineup after nursing a fractured hand. With one out and no runners on, Barnes blasted a shot over the fence for a solo home run.
Walker Valley will take on McMinn County in an elimination game this evening at 8 on the Soddy-Daisy field. The Mustangs will have to advance through the loser’s bracket if they hope to earn a spot in the Region 3-AAA Tournament.
As of last night Shamblin was unsure of who would get tonight’s start on the mound.
“Third or seventh place is no different to us. We’re trying to finish in the top two and advance to region. We’re trying to set our pitching up where we can get in that top two,” he said.
TROJANS 10, Mustangs 3
Soddy-Daisy 005 110 3 — 10 8 3
Walker Valley 020 001 1 — 4 8 1
WP: Hunter Mayor (SD) 7 IP, 3 ER. LP: John Simmons (WV) HR: Caden Ricketts (SD); Kamren Barnes (WV) 2B: Josh Poole (WV); Devan DeMatteo, Dillon Clift (SD). Other highlights: Ricketts 2-5, grand slam, 5 RBI (SD); Barnes 3-4, run; Logan Melton 3-3, 2 RBI; Drew Lyles 2-4; Poole 2-4; Chase Prince 1-4, run. Records: Walker Valley 18-14; Soddy-Daisy 9-21.