MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Anna Spellings' bunt and blast were integral parts of Coffee County's offense in Monday's Region 3-AAA high school softball semifinal, and they were enough for pitcher Brianna Jones.
The right-hander kept Walker Valley's offense in check throughout, and the host Lady Raiders defeated the Lady Mustangs 2-0.
Coffee County (30-10) awaits the winner of tonight's semifinal at 7 at Soddy-Daisy between the Lady Trojans and White County. If Soddy-Daisy wins, it will host Wednesday's region final. Coffee County would host if White County wins.
Spellings, the Lady Raiders' No. 9 batter, provided the first run with a drive over the fence in right-center with one out in the third inning. Her next time up she was asked to sacrifice in the fifth after Bethany Baker led off with a single.
As it turned out, Spellings moved her from second to third because Baker alertly got to second on a passed ball that didn't get too far away. Leadoff batter Ginny Clayborne then grounded a single through the left side.
"That was a big-time run," Coffee County coach Terry Floyd said. "One run is just not enough against good teams like Walker Valley."
The Lady Mustangs' first of three hits off Jones was Eryn Walker's single to center starting the fifth, when the score was 1-0. Then on the first pitch to Rachel Percy, who attempted to bunt, Coffee County had a pickoff play on and it worked.
Walker Valley put two aboard in the first and sixth innings. Hallie Davis had a one-out double in the sixth.
"It was not one inning or one play," Lady Mustangs coach Lauren Limburg said. "It was a culmination of everything. I'm really proud of the girls. They gave all they had down to the last pitch."
Jones walked a batter, hit one and struck out seven. The freshman leads the team in innings pitched this year.
"She did a great job," Floyd said, "especially because of how big this game was."
Bricen Hunt had two of the five hits allowed by losing pitcher Sidney Hooper. She walked one and did not have a strikeout.
"I'm just super proud of these girls," said Limburg, whose team advanced to region play for the first time since being in the same district as Soddy-Daisy and Ooltewah and finished the year 25-11. "They've done everything I've asked them to do, day in and day out. They're not just great athletes but great ladies. That's what makes them so special."
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.