Chattanooga State earns 50th softball win

yellow ball bat and glove on the softball baseball field softball tile / Getty Images

It was nothing new really, but Chattanooga State made a double Gainer splash in the NJCAA Region VII softball tournament Tuesday.

The host and top-seeded Lady Tigers rose to 50-8 for the season by edging pesky Cleveland State 4-2 as Amber Gainer went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and two stolen bases and twin Jade Gainer was 3-for-3 and scored two runs.

The two schools also met in the late baseball game, and the hosts won it, too, 12-9. Jared Emory homered, doubled and plated four runs and Haiden Hunt also starred offensively for the second-seeded Tigers (44-12), who now challenge national No. 1 Walters State (53-5), which run-ruled Columbia State 8-0 as Colby Backus went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs.

AJ Swader and Jaylen Jones led the 29-23 Cougars.

The freshman Gainer sisters from Ringgold have been playing well all year, coach Blythe Golden noted.

Golden's nationally 10th-ranked team reached the winners-bracket final at 12:30 Wednesday against No. 13 Volunteer State (48-7), which rallied from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to nip No. 19 Walters State (41-10) 3-2 with Maddie Parks' sixth-inning home run. Walters then clipped Dyersburg State 4-3 with a sixth-inning blast of its own, a three-run shot by Kaitlyn Harper.

Cleveland's Lady Cougars (29-23) also stayed alive in the losers bracket with a 10-2 rout of Roane State. Madison Miner hit a three-run homer in the six-run third inning, and Makala Strickland had two RBIs and scored the game-ending run in their three-run sixth. Bailee Phillips and Shelby Sullivan each drove in two also.

Sullivan had both RBIs versus Chatt State, and Hope Ingle was 2-for-3 and scored both runs.

"They've played us tough all season," Golden said of the regional's fifth seed, "so I wasn't surprised."