Soddy-Daisy gets a couple runs, turns things over to pitcher Kelsey Nunley, comes away with a victory over ... (insert opponent here).
Many of Soddy-Daisy's 29 triumphs in 32 softball games in 2012 can be recounted the same way. The Gold championship game Saturday in Ooltewah High School's Choo Choo Lady Owls Classic at The Summit of Softball Complex was no different. Insert Baylor as the opponent; final score 2-0.
Central's Lady Purple Pounders put an 0-2 Friday behind them with a 4-0 day Saturday and won the tournament's Silver bracket. They beat fellow District 6-AA member East Hamilton 9-0 in six innings in the final.
Cassi Pickett and Lauren Lewis had touched Nunley for back-to-back home runs in a 4-0 Baylor win in the morning in both teams' final pool-play game. And Nunley appeared to be in full payback mode in the final.
She first limited GPS to one run and shut out Ooltewah to get to the rematch. Then spotted two runs in the top of the first inning, Nunley did not allow a Lady Red Raiders baserunner until Haley Andrus singled to left field with two out in the fifth. There were no walks in her three-hitter, and seven of her 12 strikeouts were looking.
Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk admitted his senior right-hander wasn't as sharp in the earlier meeting but said she was locked in with catcher Morgan Bailey in the final.
"We wanted to get it where it was about two or three inches off the outside of the plate to try and get the call, and we did," Kirk said. "If it was any farther out than that, my catcher said the umpire wasn't giving it to us. She was on that pitch today."
Hannah Smith had the Lady Trojans' RBI in the final on a two-out infield hit.
Baylor (21-4) suffered a stunning shutout loss against Arts & Sciences on Friday to begin pool play but defeated East Hamilton, Soddy-Daisy, Walker Valley and Dickson County in succession on the way to the Gold final.
"The team really united and came together," Baylor coach Kelli Smith said. "Obviously we started hitting the ball better and we started playing better. Defensively is where we're going to have to be a little better. It doesn't always hurt when you make some errors, but especially when you get in a situation where you're facing a Kelsey Nunley or another great pitcher, it can be hard to overcome."
Central's production increased as the day went on. The Lady Pounders scored in double figures while beating another district rival in East Ridge the game before the final. They scored four runs each in their first victories of the day over LaVergne and Arts & Sciences.
"I felt like we played well Friday, just nothing fell our way," Central coach LeeAnne Shurette said. "Today we got a break, put a couple of hits together and ran and hit like we're supposed to. I was really proud of them."
Championship-game winning pitcher Shelby Willard had a no-hitter until one out in the sixth, then gave up consecutive singles. She walked two and struck out six.
Britney Sylvester went 3-for-3 with an RBI and stole two bases. Willard had a two-run double in the first inning and a run-scoring single later in the game. Hannah Powell and Brook Womack also had two hits apiece for Central (20-8), and each had an RBI and scored twice.
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.