“When we get into a bad situation, we take care of it,” proclaimed Tennessee Wesleyan signee Rachel Percy after third-seeded Walker Valley knocked off No. 1 seed East Hamilton Monday evening.
The third-seeded “Feisty Fillies” continued that trend Tuesday night at the District 5-AAA Softball Tournament, forcing a second championship game to be played this evening.
Facing the possible end to their season for the third straight game, head coach Lauren Limburg’s squad kicked and bucked fourth-seeded Ooltewah out of the event with a 13-3, five-inning thrashing before gaining some revenge on the team that sent them to the loser’s bracket in a 5-3 win over Soddy-Daisy, the No. 2 seed.
After both teams claimed opening round victories, the Lady Trojans (31-8) handed Walker Valley (33-13) its only defeat in its last eight games Saturday morning, by the same 5-3 margin the Lady Mustangs reversed Tuesday.
The “Feisty Fillies” and Lady Trojans will return to Brenda McKenzie Lawson Field this evening at 6 to play the “if necessary” game to determine who wears the District 5-AAA crown and gets to open the Region 3-AAA Tournament at home on Monday.
“I’m so proud of these girls. They all showed up tonight ready to fight,” declared an exuberant Limburg at the end of the long night. “They are not willing to give up. They are staying focused and not taking any pitches off. This was truly a team effort.”
This will be the third straight year Walker Valley and Soddy-Daisy have met in the district championship games with the Lady Trojans winning the previous two, sending the Lady Mustangs on the road to Coffee County for region play, where their seasons ended.
LADY MUSTANGS 5
LADY TROJANS 3
After exploding for 13 runs and 10 hits in the game before, Walker Valley opened the title game strong, getting four runners on base in the game’s first at bat, but none of them were able to score.
The “Feisty Fillies” drew first blood in the top of the third inning when junior Hallie Davis blasted her second home run of the night, this one a solo shot over the left field fence. She also bounced one off the top of the right-center field fence and hit the scoreboard to end the night’s first game against Ooltewah. The all-state second baseman now has 16 home runs on the season, including five in the Lady Mustangs’ five district tournament games.
Walker Valley tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth when junior AJ Chancey hit a bases-loaded hot shot off the Lady Trojan third baseman’s ankle for an infield hit, plus junior pitcher Alicia Raymond helped her own cause with a two-run, two-out single.
After firing three perfect innings to start the game, Raymond allowed back-to-back singles to open the fourth, but then worked out of the jam without a score, but in the next at bat Soddy-Daisy finally broke through. Trailing 4-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, Soddy-Daisy was not willing to roll over and came up with a trio of runs to close the gap to a single score.
Shana Ward opened the rally at bat with a double before teammates Savannah Moore, Abby Walker and Jessica Boles followed with consecutive singles. After a sacrifice bunt, Cameren Swafford drove in another run with a single.
“Dirt Devil” Davis, who made several amazing defensive plays on the night, including a diving catch along the right-field foul line, stopped the rally cold when she stabbed a hard line drive just inches off the ground, then threw to first to double off the base runner.
Walker Valley added an insurance run in the top of the sixth, when juniors Lara Bean and Carly Frost drew back-to-back walks, senior Baylee Boen singled to load the bases and Percy brought Bean in with a grounder to the right side of the infield.
Improving to 25-10 in the circle this season, Raymond sealed the victory by setting down six of the final seven Lady Trojan batters, including one who drilled a hard line drive right back at her.
“Alicia (Raymond) did an excellent job of pitching both games,” praised Coach Limburg of the all-district performer who didn’t walk a batter in a dozen innings of work Tuesday evening. “She doesn’t get rattled. She’s mentally tough and her strong work ethic comes though in situations like this.”
“We weren’t going to lose,” proclaimed Davis. “We’ve had our ups and downs this season, but we’ve come out in this tournament with a drive to win. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. These girls are my family. We won’t let each other down.”
Also an all-district selection, Davis was walked twice after hitting her “long ball” and scored two runs. Boen went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Bean was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run.
LADY MUSTANGS 13
LADY OWLS 3
After Ooltewah (28-11) scored a run in the top of the first, Walker Valley bolted for a half dozen scores in the bottom of the inning and the stampede was on.
Leadoff hitter Boen got the rally going with a single before Percy stepped in the box and blasted her fifth home run of the season over the left field fence. Chancey and Raymond got on board with a walk and an error before sophomore Emilee Spann, Bean and Frost all stroked RBI singles.
Neither team scored again until the fourth frame when Lady Owl Elizabeth Novelli, who had doubled in her pervious at bat, belted a solo homer in the top of the inning, before the Fillies got feisty again for another six-run rally.
With the first nine batters reaching base, Chancey ripped a two-run double that brought up chalk on the left field line, Davis and Raymond both had RBI hits, while Bean drew a bases-loaded walk and Frost drove in a run with a fielder’s choice.
The Lady Owls got a run-scoring double by Sloan Sullivan in the top of the fifth, to cut the lead back to single digits, but Davis forced the run rule to be enforced when she skipped a one-out shot off the top of the fence in the bottom of the frame.
Davis went 2-for-4 with a pair of “ribbies” and two runs scored, while Percy also scored twice, with a walk to go along with her two-run “dinger.” Chancey, Spann and Bean were each 1-for-2 with a walk, plus Chancey and Bean drove in a pair of teammates each, while Spann plated one and scored once. Frost went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in the victory.
Raymond struck out one, hit a pair and scattered eight hits, while allowing two earned runs. Ooltewah starter Cameron Baltimore took the loss, lasting just two-thirds of an inning as the first of three Lady Owl hurlers in the contest.
LADY MUSTANGS 5, LADY TROJANS 3
Walker Valley 001 031 0 — 5 7 2
Soddy-Daisy 000 030 0 — 3 7 0
WP: Alicia Raymond (25-10) 7 IP, 0 K’s, 0 BB, 7 hits, 3 ER; LP: Emily Edwards (16-5) 4.2 IP, 0 K’s, 3 BB, 6 hits, 4 ER. HR: Hallie Davis (WV). 2B: Shana Ward (SD). RBIs: Raymond 2, Davis, AJ Chancey, Rachel Percy (WV); Jessica Boles, Cameren Swafford (SD). Highlights: Davis 1-2, HR, 2 BB, RBI, 2 runs; Baylee Boen 2-4, run; Lara Bean 1-2, BB, run; Raymond 1-4, 2 RBIs; Percy 1-3, RBI, run; (WV); Swafford 2-3, RBI; Ward 1-3, 2B, run; Boles 1-3, RBI; Savannah Moore 1-3, run; Abby Walker 1-3, run (SD). Records: Walker Valley 33-13; Soddy-Daisy 31-8.
LADY MUSTANGS 13, LADY OWLS 3
Ooltewah 100 11 — 3 8 3
Walker Valley 600 61 — 13 10 1
WP: Alicia Raymond (24-10) 5 IP, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 8 hits, 2 ER; LP: Cameron Baltimore 0.2 IP, 0 K’s, 2 BB, 5 hits, 5 ER. HR: Elizabeth Novelli (O); Hallie Davis, Rachel Percy (WV). 2B: Novelli, Sloan Sullivan (O). RBIs: Sullivan 2, Novelli (O); Percy 2, Davis 2, AJ Chancey 2, Lara Bean 2, Carly Frost 2, Raymond, Emilee Spann, Mackenzie Elrod (WV). Highlights: Sullivan 2-2, 2B, HBP, 2 RBIs; Novelli 2-2, HR, 2B, RBI, run; Ashunti Cooper 2-3; Tiera Lemon 1-2, run (O); Davis 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Percy 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 runs; Chancey 1-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBIs; Spann 1-2, BB, RBI, run; Bean 1-2, BB, 2 RBIs; Elrod 1-2, run; Frost 1-3, 2 RBIs (WV). Records: Ooltewah 28-11; Walker Valley 32-13.