SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. - It took just one inning for Whitwell to re-establish itself as the dominant softball team in District 6-A.
The Lady Tigers, who had forced a deciding final game by rallying to beat rival Marion County on Wednesday night, scored four first-inning runs and cruised to a 9-2 win over the Lady Warriors to claim the district tournament championship Thursday evening.
"We put pressure on them early and then got strong pitching and defense to make it stand up, and that's what we've done well all year," Whitwell coach Derrin Easterly said.
Alyssa Coppinger led off the home half of the first inning with a triple and later scored on a fielder's choice. No sooner had Whitwell later loaded the bases than Carley Long cleared them with a three-run double. Kacee Hedrick added an RBI single in the second, and the Lady Tigers built a 9-0 lead through three innings.
"Getting those early runs was really big for us," said Coppinger, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. "We let them get in our heads earlier in the tournament, but that loss really opened our eyes to not take anything for granted."
Whitwell, which entered the tournament not having lost to a Class A opponent, will host the loser of today's District 5-A title game between Arts & Sciences and Silverdale Baptist, while Marion must travel to the winner of the game.
Riley Long earned the pitching win by allowing just two hits after the first inning, and Haley Andregg was 2-for 3 with a run scored.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.