COOKEVILLE — With a trip to the Region 3-AAA Softball Championship hanging in the balance, Walker Valley found itself locked in a battle of wills with a hard-hitting Cookeville team.
Despite getting a tying run off a wild pitch in the top of the seventh, a hit drilled to center field by Bety Lopez gave the Lady Cavaliers the one run needed to close out the game, 4-3 over the Lady Mustangs.
“I’m really proud of our girls. They fought the whole game and that’s all I can ask. They made great plays; awesome dives and defensive plays, and we got key hits in key situations,” Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg stated. “They came in with a hunger and did a great job, but we just didn’t finish on top this time.”
Cookeville took a one run lead in the bottom of the first after Baylee Draughon was able to get a base knock into left field, driving in Morgan Harris.
Both teams were held scoreless in the following two innings, until the top of the fourth when Walker Valley was able to tie things up.
With one out on the board, AJ Chancey drilled one into left field for a double.
After another out, Emilee Spann stepped up to the plate and hit one to the right-field fence to drive Chancey in and get a double of her own.
An inside-the-park home run by Hallie Davis, which was her 17th homer of the season, gave the Lady Mustangs their first lead of the game.
“She (the right fielder) dove for it and it got to the fence. That was a big momentum builder for us and kept it going,” Limburg commented.
The 2-1 lead was short-lived though, as the Lady Cavs drove in two runs in the bottom of the sixth before the Lady Mustangs were able to close out the inning with an impressive double play, getting a runner out at home and then tagging another out at third base.
Walker Valley’s third and final run came on a wild pitch, which gave courtesy runner Madison Russo the chance to get in for the tying run.
In the bottom of the seventh Cookeville’s Harris’ hit to left field resulted in a double and Draughon’s follow-up hit advanced Harris to third.
Lopez, the Lady Cavs’ designated player, drove in Harris for the game-winning run, effectively bringing the Lady Mustangs’ season to an end.
“I told them that life isn’t going to always going to work out the way that you want, and I know you’re disappointed, but there is nothing to hang your head about,” Limburg said.
“They had a great season, and I’m very proud of them and I feel very blessed to be their coach. I know that the seniors who are leaving have awesome things ahead of them, and I told the rest of the girls to come back and fight even harder next year.”
Region 3-AAA semifinals
Walker Valley 000 101 1 — 3 6 1
Cookeville 100 002 1 — 4 10 2
WP: Payten Price (19-3). LP: Alicia Raymond (25-12). HR: Hallie Davis (WV). 2B: Emilee Spann (WV); Claudia Hutchins, Morgan Harris (C). Highlights: Spann 2-3, RBI (WV). Records: Walker Valley 33-15; Cookeville 30-10.