Grace Academy rode the momentum from its upset victory over Soddy-Daisy on Thursday in the tournament opener of the 21st Lady Trojan Classic high school softball tournament to a 3-0 pool record after Friday's play at the Soddy Lake Kids' Park.
Sequatchie County joins the Lady Golden Eagles as the only unbeaten area teams after the first day of action. Creek Wood, from Charlotte, Tenn., also went 3-0 and will be among the teams placed in the Gold bracket for today's single-elimination play. Teams finishing in the top two in their pools make up the Gold bracket, and the others will compete in a Silver bracket.
Single-elimination games get under way this morning at 9 in both brackets. The championship games are slated to start at 5 p.m.
The competition began Thursday with Grace beating tournament host Soddy-Daisy 3-0 at the Lady Trojans' new field. The 2010 Class A state runner-up had played last year's Class AAA champion some close games in the recent past, including a 1-0 loss last weekend in Ooltewah's Lady Owls Choo Choo Classic. Grace coach Tina Walker said scoring twice in the top of the first inning was key.
"We didn't make many mistakes," Walker said. "We had one error in the outfield, but it didn't cost us. When you play teams like Soddy-Daisy or Ooltewah, you can't make mistakes because they're going to capitalize on them. It was an exciting win and one we'll never forget.
"Now they know what it's going to take. My girls aren't afraid of anybody."
The Lady Golden Eagles' victories Friday were 5-1 over Karns and 6-3 over Pigeon Forge. Lacye Walker was the winning pitcher in the first of those and she also went 3-for-3 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs. Lexie Dean was 3-for-3 and scored twice.
Kaitlyn Eldridge and Walker each was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Jessie Parker had a double and two RBIs against Pigeon Forge. One of Walker's hits was a double, and Winter Simpson was the winning pitcher.
Sequatchie County won the Silver Division last season in both the Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy tournaments, but the Lady Indians won't be defending that title this weekend. They did not allow a run in 19 innings Friday while defeating Bradley Central by three and Hixson and William Blount by five each. Brooklyn Girdley was the winning pitcher in two games; Kelsey Keener won the other.
"We played some ball today," Sequatchie coach Courtney Stewart said. "We've got to keep doing what we were doing, hit the ball and play defense. We had one bad inning, the first inning in our second game. It was goofy stuff. We let balls drop. We weren't ready to play, but we got over it. After that first inning we were OK."
Haley Brock was 3-for-3 against Bradley, driving in two runs in the first inning, and Girdley was 3-for-3 with a run scored against Hixson. Meredith Mitchell had a one-out single in the third against William Blount and eventually scored on Emily Dagnan's sacrifce fly. Ashley Moffitt accounted for the other runs with a grand slam.