Once again the combination of double-digit hits, solid defense and strong pitching provided victory for Walker Valley, this time at the expense of cross-county rival Bradley Central.
“There’s always a lot of extra emotion when you play a rivalry game, but I thought we did a good job of staying focused and gave a great effort today,” declared Lady Mustang head coach Lauren Limberg after the 13-0 five-inning blowout.
Not only were the Walker Valley bats loaded for Bear, including senior Rachel Percy’s two-run shot for the team’s first home run of the season, but senior pitcher Alicia Raymond extended her scoreless streak to 14 innings, firing a one-hit shutout.
“Alicia did a great job again today and the defense really played great behind her,” praised Coach Limberg. Raymond had fired a two-hit shutout in an 8-0 District 5-AAA victory over East Hamilton Wednesday.
Now 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in district play, the Lady Mustangs head to Hendersonville today for the Commando Classic. “We play Cheatham County, Cumberland County and Hendersonville in pool play,” Coach Limberg related. “We’ll see some strong competition up there, so we’ll get a good chance to measure where we stand.”
Bradley Central (1-1, 1-1 District 5-AAA) will travel across the river to Dayton today and Saturday for the Meigs County Tournament. Cleveland and Polk County are also participating in the annual event.
At the Market Street Complex in Dayton today, the Bearettes will face McMinn Central at 5:30 p.m., and Midway at 8:30. Polk County will take on Johnson County at 5:30 and Lenoir City at 8:30. More pool play, as well as championship bracket play, will be held Saturday.
Walker Valley didn’t waste any time Thursday as senior Baylee Boen led off the game with a single to right before Percy stepped to the dish and blasted the ball over the left-center field fence.
Before all was said and done in the opening at bat, the first eight Lady Mustangs had reached base, with four of them coming around to score. Junior Hallie Davis singled and scored on a hit by classmate Mackenzie Elrod. Freshman courtesy runner Sydney Ventura completed the circuit, scoring on a throwing error for the first of her three runs in the contest.
Boen led off the second the same way she did the first, with a single, and after stealing second she scored on a double by junior AJ Chancey.
Back-to-back doubles by Raymond and sophomore Emilee Spann to start Walker Valley’s third at bat accounted for two more runs. Ventura, running for Raymond, came home on Spann’s two-bagger, while Spann, who had advanced to third on a Bearette error, come home when junior Lara Bean reached on an infield hit.
The Lady Mustangs put a 5-spot in the scoreboard in the fourth frame, but did so with only two hits. Four walks and a hit batsman gave the visitors plenty of base runners, with a double by Bean and a groundout by junior Carly Frost providing the only runs batted in.
Davis walked to open the inning and later scored on a wild pitch, while Chancey singled and came home on a passed ball. Raymond walk and Ventura, running for her, stole a base and scored on Bean’s two-bagger, while Bean came home on the back end of a double steal.
The final Walker Valley run came when Davis opened the top of the fifth with a triple into the right-center field gap. She scored a moment later on a groundout by Chancey.
Chancey went 3-for-4 with a double, a pair of RBIs and a run scored, while Bean was 2-for-2, with a double, a walk, two “ribbies” and a stolen base.
Davis was 2-for-3 with a triple, walk and stolen base, with Raymond and Boen also going 2-for-3. Raymond had a double and a walk as well, while Boen swiped two bags and scored twice.
“Once again, we hit all up and down the lineup,” declared Coach Limberg. “I’m really proud of the total team effort we are getting.”
For her part in the circle, Raymond gave up a solid hit to the second Bearette batter and then shut down 13 of the next 14 batters. Bradley junior Von Harrison singled, then stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, but was stranded there in the first frame, while Emmaly Morgan reached on an error to open the bottom of the fifth for the only other Bradley player to reach base.
“I’m feeling good and the team is backing me up, but I still don’t feel like I’m pitching my best yet,” proclaimed Raymond, who has allowed just four hits and no runs in her last 14 innings. “I’d like to have a few strikeouts to help take the pressure off the defense so much.” She had just one Thursday, the last batter of the contest.
“We weren’t aggressive at the plate,” declared Bearette head coach Christie McElhaney. “We didn’t show any hunger. We are young (six freshmen starters), but we can play better than this.”
“We only have two seniors on the roster, one of whom is injured,” the coach related. “We have three juniors and only one sophomore, so we have a total of eight freshman rotating in.”
Walker Valley 412 51 — 13 15 1
Bradley Central 000 00 — 0 1 2
WP: Alicia Raymond (3-0) 5 IP, 1 K, 1 hit, 0 ER; LP: Abby Abernathy 3.1 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 11 hits, 10 ER; HR: Rachel Percy (WV); 3B: Hallie Davis (WV); 2B: AJ Chancey, Alicia Raymond, Emilee Spann, Lara Bean (WV); RBI: Percy 2, Bean 2, Chancey 2, Mackenzie Elrod 1, Spann 1, Carly Frost 1, (WV). Highlights: Chancey 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, run; Bean 2-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, SB, run; Davis 2-3, 3B, BB, SB, 3 runs; Raymond 2-3, 2B, BB; Sydney Ventura 3 runs, SB; Baylee Boen 2-3, 2 SB, 2 runs; Percy 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB (WV); Von Harrison 1-2, SB (BC). Records: Walker Valley 3-0, 2-0 District 5-AAA; Bradley Central 1-1, 1-1 District 5-AAA.