Left-hander Lacye Walker, whose high school softball career at Grace Academy began when she was in eighth grade, registered her 1,000th strikeout Tuesday in the first inning of the Lady Golden Eagles’ 9-0 District 5-A home victory over Boyd-Buchanan.
Walker totaled eight strikeouts in her three innings of work — the second coming against the second batter she faced, and that was the milestone. Grace coach Tina Walker, Lacye’s mother, said the game was stopped long enough to secure the ball, and Grace athletic director Leslie Compton will present the senior with a plaque at school today.
“My other two girls were pitchers, too, but they didn’t come close to anything like that,” Coach Walker said of Brittney and Tiffany. “As a coach I’m happy because it means we’re doing well and she’s going deep in games. As a mom, I’m very proud.”
Parker picks Warner
Grace third baseman Jessie Parker will sign a softball scholarship at her school this afternoon with NAIA member Warner University in Lake Wales, Fla.
Under the tutelage of batting instructor and former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga star Jada Pescatore, Parker is batting .377 this season with nine doubles, 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored. She also considered NCAA Division III opportunities at Birmingham-Southern, Huntingdon, Maryville and Agnes Scott.
“I always wanted to play ball in Florida since I was a little girl,” Parker said. “When I visited there I felt like I belonged there.”
Parker said instead of playing travel softball this summer she plans to do individual workouts with a focus on improving her speed. She plans to major in exercise science.
7-AAA 3-way tie
With two games remaining in the baseball regular season, Georgia Region 7-AAA has a three-way tie for first place following Allatoona’s 2-1 win over Cartersville on Monday.
Ringgold, Cartersville and Allatoona are each 18-2, with Ringgold sweeping two games from Allatoona, Cartersville doing the same to Ringgold and Allatoona completing its sweep of Cartersville. If the tie still exists following the end of the regular season, the GHSA tiebreaking procedure would take affect.
The first tiebreaker when more than two teams are involved without a clear head-to-head winner is the fewest runs allowed among the tied teams. Ringgold and Cartersville tied at 13 allowed against the other two, while Allatoona gave up 25. Since Allatoona can be eliminated in this tiebreaker, the winner then is decided by head-to-head competition.
Since Cartersville swept Ringgold, the Purple Hurricanes would be the region champion, with Ringgold the second seed and Allatoona third.
Sharp Payne arises
About 30 days went by this softball season before East Hamilton’s Kelsey Payne hit her first home run. It came against Davidson Academy in Ooltewah’s Lady Owls Choo Choo Classic at The Summit of Softball Complex two weekends ago.
The freshman has been on a power surge in the week since. One of four left-handed batters in the lineup, Payne homered in the Lady Hurricanes’ District 6-AA games Tuesday against East Ridge and Thursday against Central. Then she homered against Meigs County and Beech over the weekend in Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojan Invitational.
“I don’t know if you can explain freshmen, ever,” East Hamilton coach Holly Hamilton said. “I’ve always thought she was a good hitter. She’s got a good swing. She’s seeing the ball well and her confidence level is high right now. Maybe it’s just that she’s consistently playing at varsity-level games and hitting the ball. I hope she keeps it up for a long time.”