LaFayette coach Glen Woodard always teaches an aggressive style of softball, which is noticeable in the early-count swings and daring base running. In Tuesday's 5-1 Region 7-AAAA win over Ridgeland, the Lady Ramblers' defense got in the act.
LaFayette (6-4, 2-1) did its usual number on the bases -- scoring two runs after forcing errant throws with runners taking extra bases -- but with just three hits in a game that was 2-1 until the sixth inning, each play was crucial. The Lady Ramblers played errorless ball and threw three Ridgeland runners out at third base, including two in the second inning when the Lady Panthers got their only run on three hits.
With two on and one out in the fifth, LaFayette second baseman Hannah O'Shields got a forceout at third to help quiet a rally.
"Our defense kept us in the game and we made a couple of really nice plays," Woodard noted. "Some of those plays at third were risky -- we never practice that throw from second to third -- but they worked."
LaFayette's good defensive work was rewarded in the sixth with three runs. After two quick outs, a hit, a walk and an error loaded the bases and senior Tori Hunter followed with a two-run single to right. The third run scored as the Lady Panthers tried to get Hunter as she took second on the play.
"Ridgeland is a good team, so to get those three runs in the sixth was nice," Woodard said. "That was a senior who has wanted to do something like that for four years, so it was nice to see her come through like that."
Ridgeland (8-3, 1-1) was forced to start No. 3 pitcher Haley Johnson after the top two were unavailable due to sickness and a sore arm, and coach Scott Harden pulled Johnson after one batter in the second inning. Little-used Chyanne Revis went the rest of the way and allowed just two hits.
"Chyanne hadn't pitched in a while, and to be able to come in like that was a nice lift," said Harden, whose team left 11 runners on base. "She gave us a chance to come back, and it's disappointing we didn't execute and give her some runs."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...