Bradley Central did something Thursday it doesn’t accomplish on a routine basis – beat Ooltewah’s softball team.
Bearettes pitcher Allison Conley settled down after giving up seven runs in the first two innings, Bradley Central took advantage of Ooltewah errors and mental mistakes and knocked off the Lady Owls, 12-10, in District 5-AAA softball action at Jim Lovell Field.
“That was ugly,” a disappointed Lady Owls coach Norma Nelson said.
“In the last six years they’ve been on the winning side most of the time, but we actually beat them in 2002 and 2004 and a few times after that,” Bearettes coach Christie McElhaney said.
Ooltewah (0-2) scored four first-inning runs, but the Bearettes responded with an eight-run second to take a lead they would not relinquish.
Allie Jones slapped a run-scoring single to center, she scored on a fielder’s choice and Calli Cross laced a two-run double to left-center.
Cassandra Fowler’s squeeze bunt started Bradley’s scoring. Conley added a two-run double to right-center field, Mikala Ard laced a two-run single to right, Vontress Harrison and Chealsea Sadler each had RBI singles and Tori Roberts’ groundout capped the eight-run inning.
The Lady Owls battled back in their half of the second inning, scoring twice on an error and a third run on Jones’ groundout.
“After the first two innings, I was really hard on my defense,” McElhaney said. “They had to buckle down.”
Four of Bradley’s six errors occurred in the first two innings.
Conley allowed two-out singles to Ooltewah’s Summer Williams and Ashunti Cooper in the third, but retired Kelsey Chernak on an inning-ending groundout.
“Then we had our first one-two-three inning,” McElhaney said, “and that boosted everybody.”
Conley was psyched.
Starting with Chernak’s groundout, Conley retired seven of the next eight before giving up a single to Cooper leading off the sixth. Cooper went 4-for-4 – all singles – and scored twice, including in the sixth when she beat a throw home on Jones’ infield grounder.
“When my team started hitting I was more confident,” Conley said. “The first inning was definitely rough with a couple of errors, but my team backed me up after that. It was a team effort and we got (the win).”
Harrison led off Bradley’s fourth with a triple to left-center and scored on a wild pitch by Owls left-hander Taylor Hicks.
The Bearettes (1-1) added three runs in the fifth on a squeeze bunt, fielder’s choice and another wild pitch and led 12-8.
Conley (1-1) pitched a complete game, allowed 11 hits and didn’t walk or strikeout a batter.
The Lady Owls’ Hicks also went the distance, limiting Bradley to seven hits and no Bearette player had more than one hit. Hicks walked four and struck out one.
“We had to replace our catcher, pitcher and center fielder from last year,” Nelson said as the junior varsity teams began their game. “And they were our three-four-five hitters. I thought our hitting would be a lot better than it is now.
“We score four in the first and three in the second and then just stopped hitting.”
Bradley Central 080 130 0 – 12 7 6
Ooltewah 430 001 2 – 10 11 3
Conley and Ard; Hicks and Williams.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)