DUNLAP, Tenn. - Ashley Moffitt, Sequatchie County's leadoff batter in softball, looks the part - lithe, athletic, speedy.
So even with a pair of runners already aboard in the bottom of the fifth inning, DeKalb County didn't walk Moffitt, and the Tigerettes paid the price and surrendered a hard-earned lead.
Moffitt sent one high and deep for what would be a game-winning home run in Sequatchie's 3-1 Region 4-AA championship game that began Wednesday but couldn't be completed until Thursday afternoon.
"You look at her and think, 'That little bitty thing,' but while she's small she's muscular," Indians coach Kelly Somerville said. "There was no doubt in my mind when it left the bat, but I held the runners just to be certain."
Sequatchie County (22-12) secured the school's first softball region title since 2000.
DeKalb County, suffering only its sixth loss in 45 games, scratched across a run in the top of the fifth. The Tigerettes loaded the bases on an error with one on and one out and an infield grounder on which Sequatchie could not make a play. Tyra Graham then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field. While all three runners advanced, DeKalb could inflict no further damage on Indians pitcher Emily Yell.
The fiery little freshman may not have had her best outing while notching her 14th win of the season, but she allowed just two hits.
"I walked too many," Yell said. "I got frustrated early, but this was the first time I let my temper show."
She and Somerville, a former Sequatchie pitching ace, had a brief conversation once Yell left the field after her first inning.
"She wasn't feeling good that first inning, wasn't feeling that groove," the coach said. "We had a conversation pitcher-to-pitcher. She's such a mentally tough kid and a good athlete. She plays up [in a higher age group] in summer ball, and that has matured her. We had the conversation and it was like a switch flipped."
The biggest flip of a switch, though, was Moffitt's homer, her sixth of the year.
"This one's No. 1, for sure. It's the most important one I've had this year," she said.
Because of graduation tonight, Sequatchie will wait until Saturday to host a sectional, at 6 p.m. EDT against Polk County. DeKalb will play at Region 3 champion Central at 5:30 today.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.