published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes take 3-AA title

Grace Academy's Kaitlyn Eldridge, left, ignores Silverdale runner Loren Hilton and makes the throw to first in Wednesday's Region 3-A final at Grace.
Grace Academy's Kaitlyn Eldridge, left, ignores Silverdale runner Loren Hilton and makes the throw to first in Wednesday's Region 3-A final at Grace.
Photo by Tim Barber.

East Hamilton senior Taylor Harris shouted, "We're going to Chili's," after the Lady Hurricanes won the Region 3-AA championship.

She may as well have screamed, "We're going to Disney World," like a Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Harris had reason to celebrate. She and her teammates defeated East Ridge 13-2 in five innings to win the first softball region championship the school's three-year history.

"It's really cool to be a part of history," second-year coach Cara Stiles said. "To have a district championship under our belt and now a region championship, and we're planning on going to state."

East Hamilton will host a sectional game Friday at 6 p.m. against Sequatchie County with the winner heading to Spring Fling. East Ridge will head to Region 4-AA champion Upperman on Saturday for its chance at a state championship.

The Lady Hurricanes (24-14) won Wednesday with aggressive base-running, getting two-out hits, and by taking advantage of seven errors by the Lady Pioneers (15-22).

A two-run home run by Harris and the game-ending two-RBI double helped as well.

Harris, a senior who will play at Southern Illinois next year, went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, two stolen bases and fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

"I made an error in the first inning and they scored, so I figured I'd have to get it back at the plate," said Harris, who added she never hit a ball as far as her homer in the fourth inning. "Usually the ball barely goes over, or it bounces over. I got all of it.

"We kept scoring and scoring."

Shaliyah Geathers scored three runs including one on which she singled and came all the way around to score on two East Ridge scoring errors. Maria Walshe and Mckenzie Mayes also each scored twice.

"We've never been this far -- ever," Geathers said. "It's very nice."

East Ridge lead-off hitter Holly Wilson went 2-for-3 and scored in the first inning to put a little pressure on East Hamilton. Alexis Moore doubled in the third inning and scored on an error.

"I think we were a step slow today and they caught us off guard," East Ridge coach Sandy Mauser said. "We didn't communicate and they had very good baserunners who took advantage of some opportunities."

And Harris had plans to take advantage of her parent's buying dinner at Chili's.

Contact David Uchiyama at or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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