There may have been some at Clifford Kirk Stadium on Thursday surprised that Soddy-Daisy collected six hits and scored four runs in the sixth inning of its District 5-AAA softball game against Walker Valley.
Soddy-Daisy’s freshman pitcher Shonna Penney was not among them.
“I knew we could do it,” she said. “I believe in our hitters.”
Penney was spot on.
Soddy-Daisy’s offensive onslaught against Walker Valley’s previously unbeaten Carly Frost and reliever Alicia Raymond shattered a 2-all tie and the Lady Trojans went on to beat the Lady Mustangs, 6-2, on a mild, windy, sunny afternoon at Soddy-Daisy High School.
“I guess hitting really is contagious,” Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said after the win. “Our hitters did a great job. A couple of those hits (actually three) came with two strikes. The girls made adjustments in those situations and got hits.”
The win improves the Lady Trojans to 18-6 overall and 5-2 in the district. Walker Valley is 15-5, 5-2.
Frost (5-1) went into the sixth having scattered four hits and given up a first-inning home run to Haley Reynolds and a run-scoring single to Greyson Brown in the third.
The left-hander allowed two of the four hits, three of the four runs, and was relieved by Alicia Raymond with one out in the sixth.
Raymond (10-4) was coming off a 4-2 loss on Tuesday against Bradley Central, which snapped the Lady Mustangs’ 18-0 District 5-AAA regular-season win streak and a string of 16 consecutive wins of the Bearettes.
Raymond, the winning pitcher in a 5-4 win over Soddy-Daisy on March 18, was raked for four straight RBI singles by Reynolds, Greyson Brown, Savannah Moore and Shana Ward.
Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg, assistant April Richards and Raymond were huddled in a lengthy conversation after the game and did not speak with Chattanoogan.com.
“I told the team today that my birthday is coming up and they couldn’t give me a better gift than a victory,” said Reynolds, who went 3-for-4, scored twice, drove in a pair of runs and reached safely in the third inning when hit by a pitch.
“The sixth inning was great,” Reynolds said. “I wasn’t worried about their home run in the sixth because it just tied the game. I have confidence in our hitters and knew we could do it. We scored 13 runs in one inning against McMinn County earlier this year.”
Skiles said Reynolds, and the team’s other two seniors, Hannah Smith and Savannah Moore, have contributed excellent leadership for the team this season.
“Haley leads by example and along with the other two seniors gets the job done by example,” Skiles said. “Offensively, the ball just jumps on Haley’s bat. She’s got her little secrets she goes through, but I sure won’t divulge what they are.”
With two out in the first, Reynolds powered her seventh home run over the center-field fence to give the Lady Trojans a quick 1-0 lead against Frost.
Reynolds was hit by a pitch with one out in the third and went to second on Brown’s single to left field. Moore bounced back to Frost, who threw to third to force Lauren Thomas, running for Reynolds. Ward followed with a clutch hit to left, scoring Brown, and pushing Soddy-Daisy’s lead to 2-0.
Walker Valley got a single run in the fourth and had a chance to score more, but Penney escaped further damage.
Rachel Percy reached on Brown’s fielding error at third base. Hallie Davis singled to left and both runners advanced on A.J. Chancey’s sacrifice bunt. Penney, who effectively scattered five hits, hit Mackenzie Elrod to load the bases and struck out Raymond.
On a 3-2 pitch, and after fouling off four pitches, Emilee Spann drew a bases-loaded walk in a 10-pitch at-bat and forced in the Lady Mustangs’ first run.
Penney, who fooled Walker Valley hitters throughout the game with a tantalizingly slow changeup, struck out the side in the fifth.
But the dangerous-hitting Davis smashed a 1-0 delivery over the center-field fence to tie the game at 2-all leading off the sixth inning.
Penney hit Elrod with one out in the inning, but retired Raymond on a pop to short and got Spann on a bouncer back to the mound.
“That changeup is still a work in progress,” Skiles said, “but Penney has a great work ethic and knows when she needs extra time on any given pitch.”
Penney threw 117 pitches, 77 for strikes. She needed 30 to get out of the fourth inning, one third of them to one batter – Spann.
“I use my changeup mostly against power hitters or really good hitters,” Penney said. “I’ve put a lot of time into that pitch and it has its moments. I first tried to throw it when I was 7 and that was eight years ago.
“It’s ten times better now that it was even last year. I like to throw hard moving pitches to batters and then use the changeup to get them off balance.”
Brown, Moore and Ward had two hits apiece.
Davis was the lone Walker Valley player with two hits.
Walker Valley 000 101 0 – 2 5 1
Soddy-Daisy 101 004 x – 6 12 1
Frost, Raymond (6) and Chancey; Penney and Moore.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)