CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Soddy-Daisy's softball team is back in a familiar spot.
The Lady Trojans defeated Ooltewah 8-4 on Monday in the winners-bracket final of the District 5-AAA high school tournament at Cleveland, securing them a place in today's final and clinching a berth in the Region 3 tournament.
Walker Valley eliminated regular-season champion East Hamilton 3-1 in the game before.
Walker Valley (31-13) will play Ooltewah (28-10) today at 5 p.m. in the losers-bracket final. The winner will face Soddy-Daisy (31-7) in the final at 7.
"We're still not done," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said. "We want to come out, play good tomorrow and see what happens. Knowing we're going to the region feels good. It kind of gives you that peace of mind a little bit. Right now it's all about staying alive."
Haley Reynolds' two-run double gave the Lady Trojans a first-inning lead, but the Lady Owls responded with three runs in the third. However, Soddy-Daisy rallied for four runs in the bottom of the inning.
"That's key," Skiles said. "When the other team goes out there and has a big inning, to come back and respond gives you the confidence to say, 'We're not going to lay down.'"
Said Ooltewah coach Jon Massey: "When we were up 3-2, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. What good teams do is respond, and they did."
Each team used two pitchers Monday. Emily Edwards got the pitching victory in relief of Shonna Penney.
"Shonna and Emily have accepted their role," Skiles said. "They know one's going to start and the other is going to need to be ready. Those two have really worked well together."
Massey allowed freshman Jadyn Rashcke to pitch the last three innings against the Lady Trojans but noted that starter Cameron Baltimore is expected to log plenty of innings today.
Brooke Hale went 2-for-2 for Soddy-Daisy before leaving the game in the third inning with an injury. Grayson Brown was 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored a run.
Allie Jones was 2-for-3 and scored twice for Ooltewah, and Elizabeth Novelli was 2-for-4.
Walker Valley and East Hamilton were 1-1 heading to the sixth, which began with the Lady Mustangs' A.J. Chancey reaching on an error. After a sacrifice bunt, Emilee Spann's double broke the tie, and she later scored on a throwing error.
"They have a great team," Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said of the Lady Hurricanes. "They have a plan when they go to the plate, and they're on top of things defensively, too. I'm very proud of our girls. I just asked them to stay focused from the first pitch to the last pitch. When you lose focus, that's when the other team will come after you. We didn't let anything get to us."
Winning pitcher Alicia Raymond allowed six hits and went 2-for-2.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
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.