Walker Valley's Lady Mustangs can't say they were in charge over Soddy-Daisy from the first pitch Tuesday, but they can from the second.
With a one-ball count, Walker Valley leadoff batter Hallie Davis lined a home run over the left-center-field fence. The Lady Mustangs led the rest of the way and won 4-2 in a District 5-AAA high school softball game at Soddy-Daisy.
The victory over Soddy-Daisy, which played in the last three state finals, winning two, is the first for third-year Walker Valley head coach Lauren Limburg. She was Chris Doan's assistant the last time the Lady Mustangs beat the Lady Trojans, which was 3-2 at Walker Valley on March 30, 2009.
"I think any district win is a big win for us," said Limburg, whose district runner-up team last year was eliminated from the state playoffs by Coffee County in a Region 3 semifinal. "We want to compete for that first seed in the district tournament. That's why we practice. That's why we do everything we do. It's to get ready for postseason.
"To beat a team like Soddy-Daisy, which is an excellent ball team, is a great momentum builder for us."
Winning pitcher Sidney Hooper helped herself in the third inning after Brittany Nettles led off with a single. A throwing error on Baylee Boen's sacrifice bunt left runners on third and second with one out.
With first base open, Soddy-Daisy (12-3, 4-1) chose to pitch to No. 3 batter Hooper, who drove a pitch to the fence in right for a triple.
"We were just trying to make her miss-hit the ball," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said. "It just didn't work out. We threw the same pitch later and struck her out."
Mackenzie Elrod's ensuing sacrifice fly made it 4-0.
Four of the Lady Trojans' eight hits came in the fifth and included Morgan Bailey's two-RBI single. Hooper had one strikeout, walked none and hit one batter.
"I think Sidney is such a perfectionist," Limburg said. "She always wants to make the ball spin the right way. She wants to hit her spots. She has such a drive to be successful. She willed us a win."
Limburg also praised her team's defense, which Boen sparked from center field. She made a diving catch in the sixth and threw a runner out at third in the seventh. She also went 2-for-3.
Lady Trojans reliever Emily Edwards struck out four and limited Walker Valley (10-2, 4-0) to one hit in the last four innings, although she walked four. Tori Denayer and Olivia Williams each had two singles, and they scored Soddy-Daisy's runs.
"I'm glad we fought back," Skiles said. "Several times we had situations where one hit here or there, or one play, really -- defense, offense, baserunning -- could've made a difference. We make one play at a certain time and things could've been different."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.