MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans felt the ecstasy and agony in the span of two innings on Friday.
They were ecstatic after scoring five runs in the fifth inning to tie the game against Gibbs, 6-6.
And they agonized minutes later when Holly Moyers’ cracked a walk-off, game-winning double in the seventh inning to beat the Lady Trojans, 7-6, in an instant classic Class AAA state tournament softball game.
“Down 6-1 we got back even and had some opportunities to get a few more runs,” Lady Trojans coach Wes Skiles said after meeting with his players for 14 minutes. “Credit Gibbs because they fought hard. That’s a well-coached team and always has been.”
Trailing 6-1 after Gibbs – the home team in the loser’s bracket final – scored five times in the fourth, Soddy-Daisy banged out six consecutive hits, including Haley Reynolds’ three-run double, to stun the Lady Eagles in a remarkable show of mental toughness.
“We work on the mental stuff as much as anything else,” Skiles said. “We got punched in the mouth, but had the mental toughness to come back. After they scored five, it could have gone south in a hurry.”
The Lady Eagles (50-5) advanced to play Dickson County in the championship game later Friday afternoon. Gibbs would have to beat Lady Cougars to claim the title.
Soddy-Daisy, coming up short in its bid for a ninth state title, ended its season with a 37-10 record and third-place finish.
“This is definitely tough on me because it’s my senior year,” Soddy-Daisy first baseman Haley Reynolds said. “We wanted to win state although there were a lot of questions as to whether we could even get here. We would have liked a one or two finish, but I’ll settle for third if I have to.”
Gibbs had other ideas and the Lady Trojans were complicit – with two errors – in the fourth inning uprising.
Moyers, who was 3-for-4 with a run scored, had the only RBI hit in the inning. The Lady Eagles scored two runs on fielder’s choices and two Lady Trojans miscues – one by Reynolds and one by shortstop Jessica Boles.
Reynolds fielded a soft grounder, but made an errant toss to catcher Savannah Moore that allowed Leah Sohn to score the inning’s second run. Boles misplay led to Kaitlyn Trent scoring the fifth run.
After giving up a single to Cheyenne Boles (she was 4-for-4), Edwards retired Lexie Needham and Kaitlin Beeler to end the inning.
Rather than exhibiting complete frustration at what had just unfolded, the Lady Trojans turned inner anger into devastating display of timely hitting.
“We were very confident,” Reynolds said. “We trust each other and I knew we could do it. When I got the double I felt the hitters coming after me could score some more runs. We came back to tie it, but were hoping for more.”
Boles reached on an infield hit to deep shortstop.
Brooke Hale singled up the middle.
Cameren Swafford singled to right, loading the bases.
Reynolds followed with a bases-clearing double to right-center and the Lady Trojans had a full-blown rally in progress.
Grayson Brown singled to center.
Hannah Smith reached on an infield hit to reload the bases and Gibbs starter Rachel Farmer was clearly struggling in the circle. Farmer gave up 11 hits and six runs, five of them earned.
Moore rifled a liner to center field – the hardest hit ball in the inning – that was snagged by Faith Lowry for the first out.
Shana Ward singled to left with the Lady Trojans’ seventh hit in the inning. It also chased Farmer to the dugout.
Abby Hicks came on in relief to face Abby Walker, the ninth batter in the inning. Walker flied out to right field for the second out.
Boles flied out to center, stranding runners at second and third.
In the top of the seventh, Smith struck out and Moore singled to right field. But Shana Ward and Walker each grounded out to second, setting up Gibbs to win moments later.
“I’m proud of my three seniors,” Skiles said of Reynolds, Smith and Moore. “Their leadership on this team has been amazing. Our girls learned more about life than they did softball.
“I feel good about being in the top three teams in Tennessee. I was wishing for a first or second, but you can’t control what you can’t control.”
Penney worked 3 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits and four runs, two of which were earned. Edwards went 2 2/3 innings and yielded four runs and
Soddy-Daisy 010 050 0 – 6 13 3
Gibbs 100 500 1 – 7 11 2
Penney, Edwards (4) and Moore; Farmer, Hicks (5) and McFarland.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)