Bledsoe clips host Lady Owls for title

Bledsoe clips host Lady Owls for title

April 21st, 2013 by Kelley Smiddie in Sports - Preps

Bledsoe County's Lydia Ritchie slides safely back to first ahead of a pickoff throw to Coffee County first baseman Taylor Barnes during their Choo Choo Classic tournament semifinal softball game Saturday at the Summit of Softball Complex in Ooltewah, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Bledsoe County's Taylor Marsh scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ooltewah's attempt to make a sliding catch on Emily Dodson's sinking line drive failed.

That allowed the Lady Warriors to win 3-2 in the championship game of Ooltewah's Choo Choo Lady Owls high school softball tournament at The Summit of Softball Complex.

Marsh doubled with one out and scored from second one out later.

Ooltewah threatened in the top of the seventh when Summer Williams walked and Ashunti Cooper reached on an infield hit, but winning pitcher Lydia Ritchie ended it with her eighth and ninth strikeouts.

She finished with a four-hitter. The walk in the seventh was her only one, and she hit one batter.

Her father, coach Ricky Ritchie, would've liked to have rested his daughter some, but he said Faith Forgey has had an injury since the Lady Warriors played in the Gibbs tournament and Judith Roberson has a bad back. They pitched portions of a game each over the weekend, and Ritchie shouldered the rest of the load.

"Some of the girls who had been struggling decided to hit this weekend," Coach Ritchie said as an additional key to success.

The Lady Warriors scored first in the title game on Mackenzie Smith's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the first inning.

They made it 2-0 after two were out in the third, getting singles from Forgey and Mackenzie Smith ahead of a double by Ashley Brown.

Ooltewah tied it in the fifth with Kelsey Chernak dropping a two-out single into right field after two teammates had reached on errors.

Smith ended up 3-for-3 for the Lady Warriors.

Chernak was 2-for-4 for the Lady Owls, who had a fifth-place showing among 42 teams in the Bob Jones Tournament earlier this month.

"We play well on the weekends," said Ooltewah coach Norma Nelson, whose middle-of-the-pack District 5-AAA team is now 17-12 overall. "We pretty much did everything pretty good all weekend. We're not necessarily young, but we have some kids that haven't played a whole lot. This team doesn't quit. It was a good weekend."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.