MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Soddy-Daisy's Kelsey Nunley and Coffee County's Brianna Jones on Thursday recreated the pitchers' duel they had not long ago in the Region 3-AAA final. And again it was the sixth inning when Nunley's Lady Trojans broke it up.
Last time it was with one run. This time, in the winners-bracket final of the TSSAA state tournament at Starplex No. 1, a four-run sixth led to a 4-1 victory.
Soddy-Daisy (45-4) awaits the winner of today's losers-bracket final between Coffee County (33-12) and Daniel Boone (48-5) and will play for the Class AAA title at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Jones limited the Lady Trojans to one hit through five innings, but back-to-back walks with one out led to trouble in the sixth. A throwing error almost led to a run, but a Soddy-Daisy runner was thrown out at the plate on a close play.
But Savannah Moore grounded an RBI single through the right side before Hannah Smith lined a double to the gap in left-center that scored two.
"I loved it because it scored more than one run," said Smith, who ended up stealing third uncontested and scored on Jessica Boles' single. "She threw me inside and I was able to turn on it and lined it over the shortstop's head."
Nunley had a one-hit shutout with one out to get when Chelsey Howell homered for the Lady Raiders' run. She totaled nine strikeouts and didn't issue a walk.
"Whoever it is, they've got to beat us twice," Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said. "Unless something happens to my pitching, it's going to be hard to beat us twice."
Coffee County coach Terry Floyd wasn't sure what may have triggered Soddy-Daisy's sudden rally against Jones, who had five strikeouts and walked three.
"I really don't know," Floyd said, "It could've just been the tempo of the game. It could've been a various number of things.
"Soddy-Daisy always has a good team. The only thing I've got to say is we plan on being here at 6:30 tomorrow night and we'll see what happens."
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.