For half of Soddy-Daisy's Class AAA high school softball state sectional Saturday, the Lady Trojans' problem wasn't getting hits but getting runs. Then one swing of Kali Henderson's bat in the fifth inning changed things.
Henderson's two-run homer lifted the Lady Trojans into the lead and they defeated Lincoln County 4-1 at Fayetteville and earned a berth in the state tournament, which begins Tuesday at Murfreesboro.
Soddy-Daisy coach Clifford Kirk said his team had runners on base in every inning, but going to the fifth the Lady Trojans trailed 1-0 on the strength of Hannah Eldridge's home run in the second.
"Kelsey did such a good job," Kirk said of winning pitcher Kelsey Nunley, who finished with a four-hitter with no walks and 10 strikeouts. "The girl that hit the home run, we knew we had to stay away from her. We just didn't get as much on it as we'd have liked. That was my fault. I call the pitches."
Kirk said Lincoln County pitcher Tanner Sanders threw a lot of screwballs, one of which was away to the right-handed-batting Henderson, and she went with it to the opposite field.
"Henderson is strong," Kirk said. "She just overpowered one and hit one out to right field. That got us going."
Outfielder Millie Putnam, who had been out for nearly a month with a rib injury, came into the game after catcher Morgan Bailey was hit by a pitch on the wrist. Brittany Lanham, Olivia Williams and Cassidy Hackney had hit singles loading the bases for Soddy-Daisy (38-7) with one out in the sixth when Putnam drove in a run with a groundout. Mariam Wood, who was 2-for-3, singled and scored the final run on an error.
Kirk said two Lady Falcons reached starting the bottom of the seventh, but Nunley then registered three consecutive outs.
n Bledsoe County 3, Meigs County 1: At Pikeville in Class AA, Lydia Ritchie, Ashley Brown and Jaclyn Saunders had RBI singles in the third inning, helping the Lady Warriors get to the state tournament. Brown's hit came on a squeeze bunt and drove in the go-ahead run.
The Lady Tigers' Morgan Boggess, who took the pitching loss, homered with two out in the first inning. That was one of four hits allowed by winning pitcher Ritcher, who had eight strikeouts.