Soddy-Daisy’s Haley Reynolds slugged a grand slam and Savannah Moore clubbed a three-run double in an eight-run second inning and the Lady Trojans romped to a 14-3 mercy-rule victory over Rhea County in the Region 3-AAA semifinals Monday at Clifford Kirk Stadium.
The Lady Trojans raked Rhea County starter Raegan Gravitt for seven hits, including two singles by Abby Walker to go along with the Reynolds and Moore bomb-busters, and sent 12 batters to the plate in the game-changing uprising that effectively ended the Lady Golden Eagles’ season.
“This is exactly what we needed,” said Reynolds, who has 12 homers on the season. “There were a lot of other good hits in there as well. We’ve been hitting pretty good as a team, but it’s been a while since we scored 14 runs.
“Everyone came ready to hit today.”
The District 5-AAA champion Lady Trojans (33-8) will stay at home to play for the region championship on Wednesday against District 6-AAA champion Cookeville (29-9-1), which edged 5-AAA runner-up Walker Valley, 4-3.
Both Soddy-Daisy and Cookeville have earned berths in Friday’s sectionals – one win shy of the state tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“Right now the key is staying alive,” Lady Trojans coach Wes Skiles said. “We still have to give 100 percent effort on every play. Wednesday will determine who plays at home and who travels. We sure want to be playing at home.”
Reynolds went 3-for-4 and drove in six runs – she added a two-run single in the fourth – to lead Soddy-Daisy’s 16-hit attack that backed the seven-hit pitching of Emily Edwards.
Moore, Brooke Hale, Grayson Brown, Hannah Smith and Walker all had two hits for the Lady Trojans, who also earned a spot in the sectionals with Monday’s win.
“To hit like we did today feels great,” Moore said. “The postseason means more and to start out with this kind of win is motivation to keep it going.”
Edwards yielded three runs, but retired six of the last seven to close out the Lady Golden Eagles (12-20), the runner-up from District 6-AAA.
Down 1-0, the Lady Trojans scored twice in the bottom of the first inning on a Rhea County throwing error and Shana Ward’s groundout to take a 2-1 lead.
Soddy-Daisy then unleashed the devastating third inning.
Moore grounded out. Walker and Jessica Boles singled, but Hale bounced back to pitcher Raegan Gravitt, who threw to third to force Walker.
Cameren Swafford was hit by a pitch and Reynolds sent a 2-1 pitch from Gravitt clothesline shot rocketing over the center-field fence for a grand slam.
Brown singled, Ward walked and Smith singled to load the bases again. Moore, the 10th batter in the inning, lined a bases-clearing double over center-fielder Delaney Smith’s head to push Soddy-Daisy’s lead to 10-2.
Walker singled – the seventh hit in the inning – to chase Gravitt. Reliever Bailee Rumer came on to retire Boles on an infield popup and end the onslaught.
Rumer didn’t fare so well in the fourth, allowing four runs on six hits.
Smith doubled and Moore singled, but Smith was thrown out at the plate trying to score. Walker popped out to second for the second out. Boles singled and Moore raced to third. When a relay throw toward third was off the mark, Moore jogged home with the Lady Trojans’ 11th run.
Hale singled and Swafford singled home Boles. Reynolds’ hit scored Hale and Swafford. Brown popped out to end the inning.
Edwards was thrilled with all the run support that enabled her to improve her personal record to 17-4 this season.
“I felt like when (Rhea) scored and we answered was really big,” she said. “I was throwing pretty good and putting where it was called, but they were hitting pretty good early in the game. You have to credit them for that.”
Said Skiles: “We were very productive today and I feel like we have a very good lineup. The eight-run inning was a big momentum shift for us right away.”
Rhea County got six of its seven hits in the first three innings. After that Edwards didn’t allow a ball out of the infield.
Smith went 3-for-3 and scored twice to pace Rhea County.
"My pitcher was off today and that's not good against a good team like Soddy-Daisy," Lady Golden Eagles coach Leah Price said. "I think we were jittery in our first region game in seven years -- we started five freshmen -- and the lack of maturity in this situation hurt us.
"Soddy-Daisy is a hard team to beat. To do that you have to be flawless on defense and hit the ball. We didn't do either today."
Rhea County 102 00 – 3 7 3
Soddy-Daisy 280 4x – 14 16 0
Gravitt, Rumer (2) and Lewis; Edwards and Moore.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)