Baylor Escapes Soddy Daisy With 5-3 Softball Victory

Lady Red Raiders Now 26-6 Despite Making Five Errors

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - by John Hunt

They celebrated Senior Day at Soddy Daisy's Clifford Kirk Stadium Tuesday afternoon, but most of the celebrating took place in the visitor's dugout once the game began as Baylor used a four-run fourth inning as a springboard for a 5-3 victory over the Lady Trojans.

This was a clash of two Tennessee teams who are regulars at the state tournament.  Between them, they have won more state softball titles than all the other Chattanooga schools combined. 

They are currently the defending champs for their respective classifications, but they didn't play like it Tuesday afternoon.

The Lady Red Raiders made five errors, but the Lady Trojans weren't able to take advantage.

Baylor starting pitcher Sarah Moore had an unusually high number of walks with seven, but she only allowed four hits in five and a third innings.  Freshman Kayla Hughes came in and finished the job.

While the Lady Trojans were limited to those four hits, they had plenty of runners on base with the eight walks total and the five errors.  Unfortunately, Soddy Daisy left a dozen of those runners stranded as Baylor's defense made big play after big play in critical situations.

"It's always nice to have luck on our side, but this is a good win for our team," said Baylor coach Kelli Smith after a longer-than-normal post-game chat with her girls.

"I told them that we have to be better than that if we expect to go very far in the post-season.  We gave Soddy Daisy way too many opportunities, but we made some big plays defensively when we had to have them.

"The best thing about these girls is they don't get rattled.  We just try to remember to make the next play.  We made a bunch of silly errors, but our defense buckled down when we had to and we got a few clutch hits when they counted," Smith added.

Soddy Daisy coach Wes Skiles must have felt like his team was snake bit.  The Lady Trojans left the bases loaded in the fourth inning while stranding two runners in the third, fifth and sixth innings.  They stranded one more in the first, second and seventh.

"We couldn't seem to catch a break today.  We hit the ball hard a bunch of times, but it seemed like it was always at somebody.  They get a double play off a line drive.  It just goes on and on.  We didn't get any timely hits.

"It's a new season and we're playing in May.  Baylor has a great team and they're always well-coached.  We love playing them late in the season, but anyone could have won this game today," Skiles expressed.

Soddy Daisy scored first with a single run in the second.  Pitcher Tori Denayer received a two-out walk and pinch-runner Abby Walker scored on a single by Ashley Chaney.

Baylor regained the advantage with four runs in the fourth when the Lady Red Raiders batted around.

Using three walks, three hits and one sacrifice fly, Baylor finally broke through after leaving the bases loaded in the second and third innings.

Shelby Ellis led off with a walk, but was forced at second on a grounder to the pitcher by Maya Mathis.  Precious Birdsong reached on an infield hit before Noelle Winkles loaded the bases with a walk.  Another walk to Cassi Pickett plated Mathis while a sharp single to left by Lauren Lewis sent Birdsong home.

Chaney replaced Denayer at that point and was greeted by a sacrifice fly to right by Haley Andrus that scored Winkles.  Moore drove in the fourth run when she reached on another infield single as eighth-grader A.J. Johnson raced home.

Andrus had an RBI-single in the sixth that plated Winkles, who had led off with a single.

The Lady Trojans scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, but could never seem to get the big clutch hit with the game still on the line.

Cassidy Hackney's single in the fourth drove in Walker, who was running for Chaney after a two-out walk.  Then in the sixth with the bases loaded, Haley Reynolds drove in Hackney with a groundout to second.

Brooke Hale led off the Soddy Daisy seventh and reached on Baylor's fifth error, but she was promptly erased when Denayer lined hard to short and she was doubled off first.

Hughes issued her only walk to Chaney with two outs, but Savannah Moore popped to second to end the game.

Lewis and Andrus both had two hits for Baylor while Birdsong, Winkles, Moore, Ellis and Mathis all had one apiece.

Hackney was the only Soddy Daisy player with two hits.  Hale and Chaney had one apiece.  Morgan Bailey didn't have any hits, but she walked three times.

Baylor returns to action on Thursday with a home game against East Hamilton.  Another home game against region foe Brentwood Academy is Saturday while a crucial region game against GPS is on the road Tuesday afternoon before the regular season wraps up with another home game Wednesday against Ensworth.

Soddy Daisy will be at home on Friday for the opening game of the District 5-AAA tournament.  The Lady Trojans finished with a 10-2 district record and earned the second seed behind number-one Walker Valley.

While the first-round games will be played at various sites on Friday, the rest of the action will be played at Rhea County.

Baylor   000 401 0 -- 5 9 5

Soddy Daisy   010 101 0 -- 3 4 0

Moore, Hughes (6) and Pickett; Denayer, Chaney (4) and Bailey.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


Bushnell Poll Has Dalton State Men's Golf At No. 10 In NAIA

The Dalton State men’s golf team is ranked No. 10 in the Bushnell NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll released Friday by Golfweek. Defending national champions Coastal Georgia received six of the seven votes for No.1 but is two points in back of William Woods of Mo.  Dalton State is voted No. 10 in the Bushnell. ... (click for more)

Dalton State Women Picked 5th In NAIA Golf

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  – Defending national champion Keiser (Fla.) is the No. 1 team in the 2015 NAIA Women’s Golf Preseason Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Friday. The Seahawks claimed 14 first-place votes and 405 points overall. This is the second time that Keiser, formerly Northwood, starts the season atop the poll, dating back to 1999. The Seahawks ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Takes New Cost-Cutting Measures

Hutcheson Medical Center has announced new cost-cutting measures as it tries to stop ongoing losses. A trustee has asked that the Fort Oglethorpe hospital's bankruptcy process be dissolved, saying it has accumulated over $5 million in debt during the 10 months it has been in bankruptcy. The board of directors for Hutcheson Medical Center voted Wednesday evening to suspend ... (click for more)

East Ridge Council Rejects Bids For Road Work For Bass Pro Shop Development

The Bass Pro Shop development at East Ridge has hit another snag as the bids for widening Camp Jordan Parkway came in higher than expected.   Officials said the two bids were $2,597,003 by Talley Construction and $2,670,375 by Brown Brothers. Improvements to Exit 1 of I-75 are due to be bid later.   Vice Mayor Marc Gravitt said the council had ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Quaker Oats & Stuff

Some genius in the Quaker Oats marketing department came up with a novel idea last summer with the theme: “What if you had the chance to do something you have always wanted to do … but you had to start today?” Somehow Michael Hope and his family – that includes three children – got to be interviewed and, when his 10-year-old daughter Lauren was asked, she said she always wanted ... (click for more)