After Sydney White tore the brachialis muscle in her arm the first game into Ooltewah High School's 2019 softball season, her return proved pivotal in the Lady Owls' run back to the Class AAA state tournament.
She homered in her first at-bat back from injury in the district tournament against Walker Valley, and another special moment came in White's first at-bat of the 22nd annual Tennessee vs. Georgia All-Star doubleheader Wednesday at Jim Frost Stadium.
Waiting back on a changeup down the heart of the plate, White lifted a two-run home run over the left-center-field fence and unleashed a major smile as she was greeted at home plate first by Ooltewah teammates Addy Keylon and Cheyanne Sales.
"It means a lot to be here, because a lot of girls don't get to this point," said White, who is a Chattanooga State signee. "It was special to be here with two great teammates who I consider to be family. We trusted each other with our lives, and it really showed on the field. We go all out for our team."
Tennessee's girls won 7-2 and 11-1.
Leather was flashed frequently behind a loaded pitching staff featuring Sale Creek's Macie Stanfield, Soddy-Daisy's Stephanie Blevins, GPS's Hannah Sanders, Whitwell's Anna Yell and Chattanooga Christian's Madison Hollis.
Keylon locked down center field and used her speed on a pair of diving catches, which included chasing down a pop-up just beyond the infield grass to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third inning of the first game.
CCS's Mary Vandergriff snagged a line drive down the first-base line to record Tennessee's third double play in the first five innings of play.
"To play in this game really is a privilege," said Vandergriff, who will play for Carson-Newman. "To get to wear the CCS jersey one more time really means a lot. Now that high school ball is over, you really cherish the times you've had with teammates. Being with some great ones today was amazing."
Tennessee unloaded 25 base hits with Baylor four-time state champion Abby McNamara accounting for three RBI singles and a trio of runs scored. McNamara was named the most valuable player and given an award in honor of the late Stump Martin, who started the summer all-star series.
Stanfield struck out five of the six batters she faced in the second game and was awarded Tennessee's MVP honors as she also had an RBI double and two hits.
Gordon Lee state champion and future Tennessee Tech player Paxton Grimes had three hits and two doubles to earn Georgia's MVP honors. Ringgold center fielder Brooklyn Keith had a diving catch in game two.
Marion County's Savannah Parker and Silverdale Baptist Academy's Savannah Turner each had a pair of hits and RBIs for Tennessee.
Heritage coach Tanner Moore directed Georgia's roster of 12, while CCS's Lisa Gray guided the 28 Tennessee players.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.