Bailey leads Bradley Central to shutout win over Ooltewah

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ BCHS (14) Kaitlyn Bailey fires a pitch against Ooltewah at Bradley Central in Cleveland on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.
Staff photo by Matt Hamilton/ BCHS (14) Kaitlyn Bailey fires a pitch against Ooltewah at Bradley Central in Cleveland on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley Central senior Kaitlyn Bailey produced one of the top outings of her prep softball career in Tuesday's 4-0 win over Ooltewah in each team's District 6-4A opener.

Mixing her pitches well and hitting both corners of the plate, Bailey tossed a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts. Only one of her four hits allowed left the infield, a line drive single by Zoe Cates in the top of the first.

Bailey helped her cause in the circle as she laced an opposite field two-run single to right field in the fourth inning to provide a three-run cushion.

"Today I executed my pitches and I knew my defense had my back no matter what when they put the ball in play," said Bailey, who was backed by great plays in the field by freshman shortstop Ma'Ryan Greenwood and sophomore right fielder Miley Broom. "I was already fired up to perform in the circle, but for me to also get a big hit boosted my confidence even more. We all did our jobs to get the victory today."

The Bearettes (3-4) struck first in the opening frame as junior Lynlee Hodge singled and stole second before being brought home by a seeing-eye opposite field RBI single by Greenwood.

Sophomore Karly Farkas provided the final score with a run scoring single to left field in the fifth inning to plate Greenwood, who finished with a pair of hits along with a walk, stolen base and four putouts in the field.

Ooltewah (2-1) threatened in the sixth inning as the Lady Owls brought the tying run to the plate with one out. However, Bailey would work out of the jam by getting a called third strike on an outside corner fastball followed by a fly out to right.

Bailey struck out the first two batters in the seventh inning with a fastball away and an inside corner off-speed offering. Broom then ended the game with an over the shoulder catch deep in right field.

"What stood out to me about Kaitlyn's performance today was her sass and fight," said Bradley Central assistant coach Dani Sowder, who is filling in for head coach Hallie Geren, who is on maternity leave. "She worked through whatever was thrown at her and came out on top. She really was determined to push through and get this shutout."

Behind the plate for the shutout was Bradley Central freshman Presleigh Sanders, who caught a runner stealing in the fourth inning on a perfect tag and throw.

Ooltewah's Cates had another hot shot in the sixth inning for her second hit, which was nearly robbed on a leaping effort by Greenwood, who had the ball trickle out of her glove while coming down to the ground. Sophie Harris added the other hits for the Lady Owls with two bunt singles.

But it was Bailey's clutch factor that helped seal the win.

"Our goal is to serve each other and come together to make great things happen this season," Coach Sowder said. "We are also excited and really happy for coach Geren. Bringing a child into this world is a big thing. We want her to take care of herself first and foremost. Whenever she is ready to come back, we will be happy to have her back."

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