Last Thursday when Silverdale Baptist hosted Grace Academy in a District 5-A high school softball game, a Lacye Walker home run proved to be the difference for Grace in an otherwise scoreless game.
The teams played again Tuesday, also at Silverdale but Grace’s home game, and this time a home run by Walker was only the beginning.
Building on their leadoff batter’s opening shot, the Lady Golden Eagles cruised past the Lady Seahawks 12-0 in four innings.
Grace coach Tina Walker said she was hoping for more offense than the run her daughter provided in last week’s game, and as soon as possible.
“That was the plan,” Coach Walker said. “We wanted to jump on them early. A lot of the games we’ve had with them have been so tight. They always seem to get up for us.
“We kept the girls relaxed. That was the key. I’m the one that gets uptight, so maybe me not doing that helped keep them relaxed.”
Grace (23-6-1, 5-0) added more in the first inning on Reagan Schrader’s two-RBI double and Winter Simpson’s run-scoring groundout. Walker had another homer in the second, with Sierra Nunley aboard on an error, then finished pitching a one-hitter. She retired the last 11, striking out the side in the third on the way to six strikeouts.
Silverdale coach Chip Liner said the loss was disheartening after the hard-fought battle the teams had last time, when three times the Lady Seahawks got a runner as far as third base.
“We should’ve been confident and be thinking we could do it again,” Liner said of giving the league leaders a competitive game. “It’s hard to score on Lacye. They probably realize if they can get three or four runs with her pitching, they’ve got a great chance to win.”
The first seven Lady Eagles batters had at least one hit. Four had multiple RBIs, and four had multiple runs scored.
Schrader doubled again leading off the third and ended up 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Lexie Dean, who stretched what looked like a single into a double in the second, was 3-for-3 with three runs scored.
“They were just on,” Liner said. “They hit everything. With their lineup, there’s not too many outs they’re going to give you. Today wasn’t our day, but they can make you look bad at times.”
The game was a makeup of a March 31 rainout. Grace’s baseball team hosted Copper Basin on Tuesday, and the baseball and softball teams can’t play home games at the same time because the outfield fences are back-to-back.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.