CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- On the coldest day so far this season, Red Bank softball coach Mandi Munn called on Tori Akers to put out a fire in the Lady Raiders Invitational.
Playing the host Cleveland Lady Raiders in a late pool play game Friday, things got desperate quickly in the very first inning. Red Bank mound ace Ally Walker, coming off a five-inning shutout of East Ridge a short time before, encountered a strike zone that was unfamiliar to her. Put it all together, and you had the winless Lady Raiders drawing four consecutive walks, putting a run on the board and standing with the bases loaded.
"Akers has been a clutch player for us all year -- as a freshman," said Munn of her pitcher/shortstop. "Ally came upon a very tight strike zone and we couldn't catch a break."
Akers, one of three freshman starting for the Lady Lions Friday night, got a pair of ground balls that left the damage at one run. She would go on to have a single and double and two runs scored herself, while Walker moved to short and drove in two runs with two singles to lead Red Bank to a 7-1 win and in a great position going into Saturday morning's conclusion of pool play at Lee University.
Red Bank won its first pool contest, 4-0, over East Ridge as Walker threw a six-hit shutout over five innings.
"The girls have been struggling a little," Munn said of her team's 2-4 start previous to Friday. "To finally have a payoff for their hard work is a big confidence boost for us. It seems like we're finally clicking."
Akers allowed only one hit in her 3.2 innings, striking out three as Red Bank evened its season record at 4-4 going into Saturday's extensive action. Pool play conintued at 9 a.m. with Red Bank playing Midway and Polk County facing East Ridge. The final round of pool play is at 10:30 withi East Ridge facing Midway and Polk County meeting the host Clevelanders.
The single elimination bracket begins at 12:30. All games will be played on adjacent fields at Lee.
Red Bank 4, East Ridge 0
A three-run fourth broke open a one-run game with Lady Pioneers,. Heather Millard had two hits and RBI, as did Haley Tate, who also had two hits. Other pool playscores include Midway 7, Polk County 1 and Midway 3, Cleveland 2. CSAS was a last-minute droput.
Cleveland 100 0 -- 1 1 3
Red Bank 411 1 -- 7 9 1
Potts and Fugate; Walker, Akers (1) and Tate.
East Ridge 000 00 -- 0 6 3
Red Bank 010 30 -- 4 6 0
Moore and Najellullah; Walker and Tate.