After a spring break week of basking at the beach and winning some softball game in South Alabama, the “Feisty Fillies” of Walker Valley were back to District 5-AAA business Wednesday at Larry Haney Field.
As has been the norm for Coach Lauren Limburg’s herd this season, a strong pitching performance, double-digit hits and a solid defense were once again the keys as the Lady Mustangs run-ruled McMinn County, 11-1 in five innings.
“Every district win is huge,” the Walker Valley coach remarked. “Carly (Frost) had her ball really moving today and pitched very well. We got good, keys hits at the right times and we played good defense. It was a total team effort.”
With Tuesday’s game with Ooltewah having been postponed due to a scheduling conflict, Wednesday’s contest against the Lady Cherokees is the only diamond action the Lady Mustangs will see this week.
“We’ve been going at it pretty hard since the season began, so we’ll enjoy the rest a little this week and then get right back at it with three games a week and weekend tournaments for each of the next several weeks,” Coach Limburg said of her club, which is now 15-3 overall and a perfect 5-0 in district play.
Walker Valley will host Grace Baptist Academy and Bradley Central on Monday and Tuesday respectively, before traveling to Soddy-Daisy next Thursday.
The Lady Mustangs charged out of the gate at a full gallop Wednesday with senior Rachel Percy and junior Hallie Davis stroking back-to-back doubles off the fence in Walker Valley’s first at bat to get the scoring going.
After driving in Percy, Davis came around to score on the first of five McMinn errors, when a bad throw allowed junior AJ Chancey to reach base and advance to second. She finished circling the bases a few moments later when classmate Mackenzie Elrod laced a two-out single.
The hosts tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third inning when Davis and Chancey roped consecutive one-out singles and then scored when they pulled off a double steal, but the ball was thrown away twice on the play by the same Tribe player.
After getting just one base runner off of Frost in the first three frames, McMinn (8-9, 2-4 District 5-AAA) was able to take advantage of a leadoff walk in the fourth, with a wild pitch and a two-out single allowing the base runner to circle the bases.
Walker Valley put the capper on the double-digit victory with a six-run rally in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Hayley Bradshaw led things off by reaching on an error, while Frost drew a walk.
After senior Baylee Boen bunted the pair up a base, Percy also dropped down a bunt, but the throw home to try to get pinch runner Madison Russo was too late.
Stepping to the plate with runners on second and third, Davis blasted a shot into the trees just past left-center field fence for her fifth home run of the season.
Walker Valley wasn’t done yet, as sophomore Emilee Spann, who made a “SportsCenter” top-play style diving catch in left field to end the top of the fourth, reached on an error and Elrod belted her second double on the contest to drive her in. Junior Lara Bean and Russo got into the fun with back-to-back singles, the second of which plated Elrod to make the 10-run difference.
Davis and Elrod both went 3-for-3 at the dish, with the former “going yard” and roping a two-bagger for a total of four runs batted in, while the latter plated a pair of teammates and laced a pair of doubles.
Setting down nine of the first 10 batters she faced, Frost fired a three-hitter to up her pitching record to 5-0 on the season. She struck out three and walked a pair and started a 1-6-3 double play in the game’s final at bat.
Walker Valley went 5-2 in the 60-team Gulf Coast Classic II in Orange Beach, Ala., last week.
“We faced some great competition down there,” related Coach Limburg. “We lost to Huntsville (Ala.), which won the tournament. They beat us in pool play, but we won our other four games. We won one game in bracket play and then got put out by a very good team.”
Playing all Alabama squads, the Lady Mustangs beat Haleyville (13-5), Sardis (3-0), Falkville (10-2) and Rehobeth (4-1) in pool play, plus Piedmont (9-1) in the opening round of bracket play. While Huntsville claimed a 3-0 win over Walker Valley in pool action, Sumiton Christian took a 4-3 decision in an elimination game.
“Feisty Fillies” junior ace Alicia Raymond went 4-2 in the circle during the tournament to improve to 10-3 overall this season.
McMinn County 000 10 — 1 3 5
Walker Valley 302 6x — 11 10 0
WP: Carly Frost (5-0) 7 IP, 3 K’s, 2 BB, 3 hits, 1 ER; LP: Hope Mizell 3.2 IP, 0 K’s, 1 BB, 10 hits, 5 ER; HR: Hallie Davis (5) (WV); 2B: Mackenzie Elrod 2, Rachel Percy, Davis (WV); RBIs: Davis 4, Elrod 2, Madison Russo (WV). Highlights: Davis 3-3, HR, 2B, 4 RBIs, 3 runs; Elrod 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBIs, run; Percy 1-2, 2B, 2 runs; AJ Chancey 1-3, reached on error, 2 runs, SB; Russo 1-1, RBI, run (WV). Records: McMinn County 8-9, 2-4 District 5-AAA; Walker Valley 15-3, 5-0 District 5-AAA.