MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- As she trotted toward first base, tears were already streaming down Haley Reynolds' cheeks. The Soddy-Daisy sophomore knew that the swing of her bat had provided more than enough insurance for yet another Class AAA state softball championship for the Lady Trojans.
Reynolds' fourth-inning grand slam helped lead Soddy-Daisy to a 7-0 victory over Daniel Boone for the program's eighth state championship and second in three years. Soddy-Daisy was pushed Friday night to a deciding final game by Boone but answered with a resounding victory Saturday afternoon.
"As soon as I felt the ball come off the bat, I knew it was gone and I started crying on my way to first base," Reynolds said. "I knew that had given us more than enough for Kelsey [Nunley] to get us another championship.
"Last year I was basically a cheerleader and wasn't on the field to help our team. But this year, it was great to be out there helping us win another one."
Soddy-Daisy (46-5) got clutch hitting and another solid pitching performance by Nunley, the team's lone senior starter. She allowed just one hit, striking out 12. She allowed only three hits in Friday's loss but was even more determined Saturday.
"She has just been really tough all year, but with this game deciding how our season ended, she was ready to do something special again, and that's what she did," said Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk, who has 10 state titles to his credit. "I think we were overconfident Friday night, but today we came in ready to go. We were confident, because the girls know we're a really good team, but not oveconfident.
"I don't know of anybody else who has been as successful in AAA, so it's pretty special to win another one in the toughest league."
The Lady Trojans are ranked 22nd nationally in ESPN's Powerade FAB 50 and No. 23 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.
Soddy-Daisy loaded the bases in the top of the first Saturday, but with no outs, a double play looked to end the threat. However, Olivia Williams answered with a bases-clearing triple, giving the Lady Trojans an early lead.
"It was a big relief to get those runs home," Williams said. "That took a lot of the pressure off, especially after we kind of blew our chance on Friday. We felt like Kelsey wasn't going to give up three runs, so we were in really good shape from there on. Then when we got the grand slam, it was just a matter of getting a few more outs for the win."
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 ...