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CCS softball

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Just a little more than 12 hours after being knocked to the dirt, the Chattanooga Christian School softball team got up, dusted itself off and battled The King's Academy — which had entered the state tournament as the prohibitive favorite — hit for hit on Friday.

The Lady Lions, though, manufactured runs in the second, third and sixth innings for a 3-1 win over CCS that secured the Knoxville-area program's third Division II-A state championship in four years.

CCS had rallied for a 7-6 win against TKA on Wednesday, but the Lady Lions won an elimination game to reach the championship series, then delivered a 17-2 body blow to the Lady Chargers on Thursday evening, forcing Friday's winner-take-all game that began in the 90-degree heat of early afternoon.

"After last night, we knew that wasn't us," said CCS coach Lisa Gray, whose team beat Davidson Academy 2-1 in the opening round Wednesday morning to set up its first of three consecutive meetings with the Lady Lions.

"I knew we had a lot of fight and would come back with great effort, and that's what our kids did. Our players left it all out on that field, and that's all I can ever ask. I'm so proud of what they accomplished this season."

The runner-up finish comes just four years after CCS (25-12) revived its softball program. Meanwhile, the Lady Lions (38-6) were in the title game for the fourth time in five seasons.

"That's a great team over there," Gray added. "But my team is a champion to me just because of how much heart and guts they showed in rebuilding the program and then coming back from the way we were beaten last night. Not a lot of teams could come back from that type of loss to play the way we did."

KayLeigh Ammons put the Lady Lions ahead 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI single to center field, and Regan Weekly made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly in the third.

After CCS cut the lead to one on Lauren Day's fourth-inning RBI, the Lady Lions answered with Haydyn Jenkins' RBI double in the sixth.

"Honestly, it took a lot of courage to come back and play that team the way we did today," said CCS sophomore Lauren Kay, who went 2-for-3. "Last night, after that loss was rough, no doubt. But we came back today saying it's a new day, and we had a fresh start and a new chance to win. I've played with most of my teammates since we were like 10 years old, so honestly, there's nobody I'd rather be battling with on the field than this group."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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