DUNLAP, Tenn. — With her softball team down by one run with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Marion County senior Savannah Parker provided the shot heard around the valley.
Parker's three-run double to the gap in right field proved to be the game-changing play Wednesday night as the Lady Warriors beat host Sequatchie County 6-5 in the Region 4-AA championship game.
"I went up to the plate and knew I had to do whatever I could to get a hit," a smiling Parker said after helping lead the Lady Warriors to their first region title. "This was an amazing game in every way. I will remember it forever and everything about it."
Parker's was one of two momentum-shifting two-out hits with the bases loaded for Marion County (21-10), which had been shut out by Sequatchie County (31-10) in the district title game.
Marion County sophomore Audrey Schaefer opened Wednesday's scoring with a two-run double to deep center to help build a 3-0 lead in the top of the third.
"I am so proud of this team," Schaefer said. "We have come so far and had to learn from some tough losses to Sequatchie this season. I was nervous, but so glad we found a way to win this game."
Sophomore Sara Muir, who has committed to the University of Tennessee, provided damage out of the leadoff spot by scoring a pair of runs and going the distance for the pitching win.
Muir stranded the game-tying run just 40 feet away in the final two innings, and a strikeout ended the epic clash.
"Sara buckled down on the mound and it thrills me to death to see the big hits we had today," Marion County coach Randy Ellis said. "That game was as intense as it gets. Sequatchie County is a state tournament team, and in my eyes, still the favorite to win it. For my girls to win this means everything."
Sequatchie County got four RBIs from the sister duo of Addy and Ella Edgmon, who have both committed to UT-Chattanooga. Ella's two-run triple down the line in left field provided a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning. She drove in another run in the sixth.
Sale Creek, Whitwell are region champions
At Sale Creek, the host Lady Panthers needed a clutch fourth inning to rally past Tellico Plains 5-2 and win the Region 2-A championship.
Madison Stott was 4-for-4 with a double and pitched a complete game, and Hannah Skiles had a home run and three RBIs for the Lady Panthers (27-8).
Whitwell traveled to Trousdale County and rolled to a 13-0 win for the Region 3-A championship.
The Lady Tigers (25-9) took control with a seven-run second inning, then added four more runs in the third.
Anna Yell allowed two hits and struck out seven batters for the win. She also drove in three runs, as did Maddie Jordan, who was one of four Lady Tigers with an extra-base hit.
"Delanie Merciers got us going in the second inning with a hard-hit ball that they couldn't make a play on, and we just kept going from there and never let up," Lady Tigers coach Rebecca Castle said.
Sale Creek will host Cosby in Friday's state sectional round, while Whitwell will host Moore County on Saturday. Both teams are now just one win from returning to the Class A state tournament, where the Lady Panthers finished runners-up last season.