MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — As much joy as Silverdale Baptist Academy's softball team would liked to have expressed after winning an elimination game Wednesday in the TSSAA Division II-A state tournament, relief may have been the more prevailing emotion.
The Lady Seahawks played East Region District 2 rival Chattanooga Christian School for a seventh time this season and managed to hold on for a 5-4 victory at McKnight Park.
SBA (27-8) plays again today at 11 a.m. EDT against Knoxville Grace Christian at Starplex's No. 3 field. The winner plays in the final at 5 on the same field.
Against CCS, SBA got a two-run single from McCade Cooper in the first inning, and an RBI walk from Savannah Turner and a two-run single from Skylar Sheridan in the second and led 5-1. The Lady Chargers battled back with single runs in the third, fourth and seventh.
The seventh began with Savannah Ricketts' third double of the game. One batter later, Lauren Kay hit an RBI single, but winning pitcher Maddie Tankersley got a force play and a strikeout to end it.
"We knew when we got up on them that they were going to make a push to beat us," said SBA coach Tim Couch, whose team ended up 5-2 against CCS (22-14) this year. "They have a good team. Maddie did a great job. She really fought through. I think she was a little tired, but I think their pitcher (Madison Hollis) was a little tired, too. They got better as the season went on. We know they've got the game to come back like that. They've done it a couple of times that we played them."
Coach Lisa Gray took over the restoration effort at CCS three years ago. Her teams have gone from district runner-up, to district champion to a region championship and the state tournament this year.
"They just are fighters," Gray said of her players, none of whom are seniors. "We'll keep working in the offseason. We don't want to just be here next year. We want to make a statement."
» Baylor 8, GPS 1: In Division II-AA's winners-bracket final, Cheyenne Lindsey opened things for the Lady Red Raiders (33-3) with a single and a stolen base, then No. 2 batter Emily Rye singled her in.
Two innings later, Baylor was up 5-0 on the Bruisers (31-3).
"Cheyenne got us started in the very beginning and punched a run across in the first inning," Baylor coach Kelli Smith said. "I think that just kind of set the tone. With a lead it enables you to be a little more aggressive on the bases. We took some chances stealing. We did a good job executing with our speed. We hit some gappers and scored twice from first base."
Lindsey, Rye, Sophie Piskos and winning pitcher Acelynn Sellers each had two hits. Sellers threw a three-hitter.
"We have to play better if we're going to win a big game like this, in all aspects," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "It's on me. It's all on me."
Baylor will play for the title today at 6:30 p.m. EDT against the winner of today's 12:30 p.m. EDT game between GPS and Brentwood Academy. Both games are at Starplex's No. 3 field.
Earlier Wednesday, Baylor beat BA 3-0. Macy Ann McKnight pitched a three-hitter with two walks and seven strikeouts and Kamrie Rich went 2-for-3.
GPS advanced by beating St. Benedict 14-4 in six innings. Haley Smith, who went 2-for-3 against Baylor and drove in the run, was 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Shelby Walters was the winning pitcher.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.