A whole lot of high school softball was played at the Kids Club Park this weekend in Soddy Daisy, but it was District 5-AAA rivals Soddy Daisy and Ooltewah that walked away with the championship hardware.
Soddy Daisy beat Wilson Central by a 3-2 final for first place in the Gold division while Ooltewah had a much easier time putting the Powell Lady Panthers down by a 10-1 final in the Silver division.
Soddy Daisy got a clutch hit by Shana Ward with two strikes and two outs in the final inning to tie East Hamilton at 3-3 in the semifinal before winning 4-3. Wilson Central beat Sequatchie County by an identical score in the other semifinal.
Powell advanced with a 3-1 win over Chattanooga Central while Aubbie Collake's clutch three-run homer late lifted the Lady Owls to a 5-4 victory over Walker Valley.
Allison Davenport had done the same thing for Sequatchie County as the Lady Indians stunned GPS 4-2 in the Gold-division quarterfinal. Davenport also had a walk-off home run on Friday night to beat Silverdale, 6-5.
SODDY DAISY 3, WILSON CENTRAL 2: The Lady Trojans came through in the clutch against the Lady Hurricanes, but the Lady Wildcats didn't enjoy similar success in the championship game.
Lady Trojan starting pitcher Emily Edwards retired the first 10Wilson Central hitters before Britany Wiseman broke up the no-hitter with a single to right in the fourth. Morgan Powell followed with a double to put runners on second and third with one out, but Edwards got a come-backer from Katie Eakes for the second out before getting a grounder to short from Kendall Eden to end that threat.
Meanwhile, Soddy Daisy did all of its scoring in the bottom of the fourth.
Haley Reynolds, who earlier had a two-run homer against East Hamilton, led things off with a walk and was replaced by courtesy runner Lauren Thomas. Grayson Brown had a sacrifice bunt and reached on a Wilson Central error before Savannah Moore drove in the first run with a perfect bunt that went less than six feet in front of home plate.
Hannah Smith walked before Ward singled to drive in Brown. Abby Walker then drove in the third run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left.
Keily Preston put Wilson Central on the board in the fifth when she stole home. She had reached on a one-out bunt single before advancing on a single by Claire Smith.
The score remained 3-1 until the top of the seventh when the Lady Wildcats came within a hit of tying or possibly winning the game.
Kendall Eden led off with a double to the gap in left-center before Brooke Pfeferle singled her to third. Shonna Penney was called to relieve Edwards at that point and promptly got the first out on a come-backer from Preston. Smith followed with a single down the line in left to score Eden.
Penney then got a pop to short and a grounder to short to end the game with the tying run on third base.
"We just have to keep our heads up, but Soddy Daisy has had a dynasty in this sport for a long time," said Wilson Central coach Mike Shepard after his team fell to 23-15 for the season.
"We just hope that we get another chance to play them. We started off kind of flat, but I liked our intensity in that last inning. We fought back hard and came up just a little bit short," he nodded after his team won five of six games over the weekend.
Soddy Daisy coach Wes Skiles may be getting more than his share of gray hair after games like this.
"These girls did an outstanding job this weekend, but it's all about getting better. Jackie is doing a great job calling pitches and the girls are responding well," he added by giving praise to first-year assistant Jackie Freelend.
"They handled the pressure well in both games and I'm pleased that we didn't panic either time We were down to our last strike against East Hamilton and it came down to the same kind of situation against Wilson Central," Skiles said with a smile after his team improved to 25-6.
OOLTEWAH 10, POWELL 1: The Lady Owls scored a run in the top of the first, but they broke things open with two more in the fourth, three in the fift and four in the sixth.
Catcher Summer Williams was the only Ooltewah player with two hits.
Sloan Sullivan had an RBI-single in the first while Elizabeth Novelli and Shelby Sutton both had run-scoring singles in the fourth. Allie Jones had an RBI-double in the fifth while Williams drove in one with her single. Tiera Lemon drove in another with a fielders choice.
Then in the sixth, Josie Cain drove in one with a single while Jones had another RBI following a bases-loaded walk. Chandler Cox also drove in one with a fielders choice.
Powell's only run came on a solo homer in the sixth by Lexi Jones.
"We swung the bats well today, but we have a chance to beat a lot of good teams when we do that," explained Ooltewah coach Jon Massey after his team had improved to 24-7 with their fourth win in six games in this tournament.
"We really showed up today as we had a lot of hits with hard ground balls and line drives. And when Ashunti Cooper and Tiera Lemon get on base at the top of the order, they just set the table for everyone else. We swung the bats like we needed to and had several clutch hits, but this is that time of year when you hope to be clicking," Massey smiled.
Powell coach Jeff Inman felt like the last game was more about surviving after running thin on pitching.
"We just didn't hit the ball when we needed to. We had plenty of runners in scoring position, but didn't do what we needed to do to get them in. Ooltewah has a fine team," Inman nodded after his team dropped to 26-14.
Kiley Longmire had three hits, including a double, to lead the Lady Panthers while Brittney Franse and Jones also finished with two hits.
GOLD DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
WILSON CENTRAL 000 010 1 -- 2 7 3
SODDY DAISY 000 300 x -- 3 5 1
Bodenhorn and Wiseman; Edwards, Penney (7) and Moore.
SILVER DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
OOLTEWAH 100 234 -- 10 9 0\
POWELL 000 001 -- 1 9 3
Baltimore and Williams; Bedwell, Fortner (6) and Jones.
(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)