Grace Academy backed its fifth consecutive District 5-A high school softball championship by winning its fifth consecutive district-tournament title.
The Lady Golden Eagles did so in big fashion, defeating Silverdale Baptist 10-0 in six innings in Thursday’s final at Warner Park.
Grace (34-7-1) is scheduled to host South Pittsburg in one of Monday’s Region 3 semifinals. Silverdale (14-12) will play at District 6 champion Marion County in the other.
“We wanted to win the district,” said Tina Walker, who coached the Lady Golden Eagles to a state-runner-up finish last season. “Now we’ll shoot at winning the region again. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a tall order, but I think we’re up for it.”
The Lady Golden Eagles were up for the district final, starting with a three-run first inning and rolling from there. Bethany Cowart’s double to the fence in center drove in the first run, and she ended up 3-for-4 and scored twice.
“I feel really good about how we’re playing,” Cowart said. “The first part of the district tournament we were all kind of tired because of those hot days. Everybody came ready to play today. We were ready as soon as we hit the field.”
The early advantage was more than enough for winning pitcher Lacye Walker, whose only hit allowed was Abbie Bateman’s infield single starting the fourth. She did not give up a walk, one reached on an error, and she ended with nine strikeouts.
“We told them we had to score early and get on top, and that’s exactly what they did,” Coach Walker said. “Lacye is always hard on herself. She was a little more relaxed this game and did well.”
Grace’s Jessie Parker was 2-for-3, each hit a run-scoring single, and she walked and scored. Lexie Dean went 2-for-4 and Maddie Horton came off the Lady Golden Eagles’ bench and contributed a two-run triple.
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.
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