CLEVELAND, Tenn. — What a difference a day made for Soddy-Daisy.
Walker Valley rode the momentum of winning Tuesday's losers-bracket final and also defeated the Lady Trojans that night to force Wednesday's championship game in the District 5-AAA softball double-elimination tournament at Cleveland. But Soddy-Daisy regrouped a day later and beat the Lady Mustangs 7-5.
Soddy-Daisy (32-8) will play at home in the Region 3 tournament Monday when TSSAA region semfinals are scheduled statewide. The Lady Trojans will host the District 6 runner-up while Walker Valley (33-14) will play at the District 6 champion.
Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said winning was significant because it means his team gets a home game Monday. Haley Reynolds, who went 3-for-4 in the title game, said winning was significant because Skiles promised to cut stripes in the the Lady Trojans' field when he manicures it for the region.
"I told the girls 'Let's win because I want to play at home and work on the field,'" Skiles said. "I'm an old baseball guy. I like working on the field. We've got the Clifford Kirk Stadium and Lamar Lasley Field signs up now. We'd like for people to come up and see everything looking good. They asked me, 'Can you stripe it?' I said, 'Yeah, I'll stripe it.'"
Reynolds striped a pitch in the bottom of the first inning that cleared the fence and put the Lady Trojans up 2-1. It came after Cameren Swafford had reached on a one-out error.
"My count was 0-2," said Reynolds, who also doubled in the Lady Trojans' final run. "After that, I was just hungry for the next pitch. We had a runner on base. All I was trying to do was get a hit to score her. It scored her."
Soddy-Daisy scored in each of the first four innings and led by five heading to the fifth. The Lady Mustangs made four errors over the first three innings.
"Soddy-Daisy came ready to play," Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said. "They have an excellent team. They've been here before. They've been successful. They knew what to expect. I'm proud of our girls. They fought to the very last pitch.
"One thing, we did not play solid defense. That's one of the things we've relied on in the past. We also left too many runners on base, especially early in the game. On this winning streak we've been on, we were getting runners in when we had opportunities."
Hallie Davis provided a few heroics for the Lady Mustangs on Tuesday and continued Wednesday by going 3-for-4, including a home run after the first two reached starting the seventh. But Shonna Penney retired the next three in order to finish her complete-game pitching victory.
"That's probably going to be the best thing to help Shonna," Skiles said. "After the home run, to stay out there and finish it and move on showed she was able to flush it. She settled down."
Shana Ward went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for Soddy-Daisy. The top two in the order, Brooke Hale and Cameren Swafford, scored twice each.
Davis also had a triple for Walker Valley and she scored three runs. Mackenzie Elrod was 2-for-2 and Alicia Raymond was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter 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 email@example.com.