MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After narrowly surviving its first elimination game earlier Thursday with a seventh-inning stand, Whitwell's softball team managed some late insurance to get through its second game of the day.
The Lady Tigers edged University School of Johnson City 6-5 and followed that with a 6-2 win over Oliver Springs in the Class A state tournament.
The Lady Tigers made things tough on themselves by losing on Wednesday but now are just one win from working their way through the losers bracket to reach the title game.
Whitwell will play Gordonsville this morning at 10 a.m. EDT. It was Gordonsville that beat the Lady Tigers 8-3 on Wednesday.
After building a 6-0 lead over USJC, the Lady Tigers' advantage was cut to one and the tying run was on third base with only one out in the final inning. But University School batter Arianna Ramsaran lined a shot right at Whitwell first baseman Magen Fulfer, who quickly threw to Kelsey Kilgore at third for the tag on Taylor Treadway, ending the threat and the game.
Going into the seventh inning of the second game, Whitwell clung to a 3-2 lead over Oliver Springs. But the Lady Tigers added three runs in the top of that inning on an RBI single by Hailey Andregg and a two-run home run by Kathleen Sledge.
"After that first game I told the girls to just come out and play loose, like they had nothing to lose," Whitwell coach Grace Pickett said. "I'm really happy with the way they swung the bats. We got hits up and down the lineup, it wasn't just one or two girls. That's what we'll need if we're going to keep moving on.
"I know they have to be tired after playing so many games in such a short time, but they just keep battling and that's all we can ask."