MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The fact that she had missed several games with torn ligaments in her right hand after being hit by a pitch earlier this season never played on Hannah Smith's mind.
All she thought about was finding a way, by any means necessary, to get the go-ahead run home. So with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning and Soddy-Daisy locked in a scoreless tie with Daniel Boone, the Lady Trojans' sophomore took an inside pitch off her right forearm, bringing in the run that would prove to be the game-winner.
Designated hitter Brittany Lanham followed with a sharp single off third baseman Andrea Rogers' glove to score Haley Reynolds with an insurance run, and pitcher Kelsey Nunley made it stick for a 2-0 win in the opening round of the Class AAA softball state tournament. Nunley allowed just two hits, striking out 16 and walking one.
"I wasn't even worried about getting hit," Smith said. "I just knew we had to find a way to get that first run home, because if we could, we all felt confident Kelsey would do the rest. As soon as I saw the ball coming inside, I just stood still and let it hit me. It's red and sore, but I'll ice it and be just fine now."
Soddy-Daisy will play at 11 a.m. today against Munford.
The Lady Trojans, who outhit Daniel Boone 10-2, had runners in scoring position in the previous three innings before finally scoring in the eighth. In the fifth and sixth innings the Lady Trojans moved runners into scoring position with no outs before failing to score, and in the seventh they began a two-out rally with a walk by Lanham and a single by Morgan Bailey. But after a double steal, leadoff batter Cassidy Hackney flew out to left field to end the threat.
"We had a lot of chances. We just kept doing things to threaten but never could seem to get a run across," Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said. "Once we got that one run, really we felt good about our chances with the way Kelsey was throwing it, and with a two-run lead for her, we felt really good.
"It's a huge deal to win that first one in this tournament. Not just for your confidence, but I've been here and had to come through that losers bracket before, and that's extremely tough to do."
Nunley allowed one runner to advance to second base, with two outs in the fourth inning, before striking out the final batter.
"It was frustrating for a while, but I just kept doing my job and that's all I could do," Nunley said. "Once we got that first run -- it didn't matter how -- I knew we were OK."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...