published Friday, April 20th, 2012

State powers clashing

Two of Tennessee's top high school softball programs will meet in a possible state-tournament preview Sunday when Murfreesboro Riverdale visits Soddy-Daisy at 2 p.m.

The perennial Class AAA state powers have combined to win nearly 70 games this season and are led by two of the highest-rated pitchers in Tennessee: Soddy-Daisy's Kelsey Nunley and Riverdale's Rachel Albritton, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga signee.

"We usually see them in tournaments or the sectional round or maybe the state tournament," Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said. "But we were talking before this season and they said they wanted to come to our place and play a regular-season game.

"We have a lot of respect for each other and we're both good teams again this year. This is just for bragging rights, but I think it will be a good measuring stick for both teams to see where we stand."

Kirk, who owns nine state titles (seven with Soddy-Daisy and two at Hixson), has the Lady Trojans off to a 32-3 start despite having only one senior in the lineup.

Riverdale, which won its only state title in 2009, has beaten the Lady Trojans just once in 37 previous meetings. That came in the '09 sectional round, but most of the other meetings have been close.

"We like to play good teams and in places with nice facilities so this was a no-brainer for us," said Riverdale coach Jeff Breeden, whose team is 37-7 this year. "We think Nunley is one of the best in the country, so we wanted to play there and see her.

"There will be some pressure, but I hope they will rise to it and learn something that can help later on. Chances are we'll see each other again."

Calhoun wins 7-AA

The Calhoun girls claimed their fourth consecutive Region 7-AA tennis championship by defeating previously unbeaten Armuchee 3-2 Wednesday at Rome.

The Lady Yellow Jackets (14-2), who replaced all three singles players from last season, won at No. 3 singles with Paloma Zochawska and No. 1 doubles with Calli Davis and Macy Walraven. The deciding point came at No. 2 doubles, with Bree Walraven and Emily Brumlow rallying from down 3-5 in the final set.

"I knew it was going to be a harder battle this season," Calhoun coach Lynn Davis said. "I knew the girls would fight, because they've been winning in the past, but would it be the right setup? I wasn't sure how we'd do, but I thought we did well. I'm not too terribly surprised that we won the tournament."

The Calhoun boys finished second, falling 3-2 to River Ridge in the championship match after defeating Armuchee 3-0 in the semifinals.

Lady Trojans win

Gordon Lee's girls claimed a 4-0 preliminary-round victory over Hebron Christian in the Class A state playoffs Thursday morning. The Lady Trojans (9-4) will travel to face Aquinas, the top seed from Region 7, in the first round.

Kelyse Mauldin and Madison Hilley had singles victories, while Katie Barger and Brenna Nation won at No. 1 doubles and Kendall Johnson and Courtney Towns were victorious at No. 2.

Robinson signs

Ringgold senior Hayley Robinson signed scholarship papers this week to continue her softball career at NCAA Division II power North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.

The infielder helped lead the Lady Tigers to the Class AAA state tournament with a .436 average and 37 RBIs. She led northwestern Georgia with 11 home runs and added eight doubles and three triples as she slugged at an .894 percentage.

"Hayley had a stellar career, she has lots of power and she will do great at North Georgia," Ringgold coach Rachel Hodge said. "Hayley has led or tied the region in home runs the past two years, and she was a first-team all-region pick this year. I am very excited for Hayley, and I know she will do great at the next level."

Gash set for King

Cleveland senior Kayla Gash will sign a track scholarship with King College today at the high school.

Gash competes for the Lady Blue Raiders in two field events, ranking third among area athletes in the discus with a best effort of 108 feet and fourth in the area in the shot put with a throw of 36 feet.

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