(This story has been updated with Region 3-AAA pairings)
Shonna Penney was worth her weight in gold Wednesday night.
Penney, the Soddy-Daisy pitching standout, gave up a three-run home run to Walker Valley’s Hallie Davis in the seventh inning, but responded by recording three straight outs as the Lady Trojans won 7-5 to claim the District 5-AAA softball tournament title at Cleveland High’s Brenda McKenzie Lawson Field.
The Lady Trojans will host Rhea County on Monday in the Region 3-AAA tournament while Walker Valley will travel to Cookeville (27-9-1). Cookeville beat Rhea County, 11-2, on Thursday for the District 6-AAA title.
Walker Valley defeated Soddy-Daisy, 5-3, on Tuesday to force the deciding showdown.
“I’m glad we came back on a different day,” Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said in a telephone interview. “It’s sometimes hard to turn right around and play a second game. Tuesday was Walker Valley’s night and then we had our night.”
The Lady Trojans (32-8) went into the seventh with a comfortable 7-2 lead, but the Lady Mustangs (33-14) put a lot of pressure on Penney and her teammates when Hallie Davis smashed a three-run homer to pull Walker Valley within 7-5 with none out.
Soddy-Daisy seniors had a quick meeting in the pitching circle.
“That was on them and they talked before I could even get out there,” Skiles said. “They calmed Penney down and he came back strong.”
Penney induced Walker Valley hitters into a pop to third, grounder to second and finished the game with her sixth strikeout.
“Sometimes what you think is the worst thing that could happen actually ends up being the best thing to happen,” Skiles said. “After the homer it was like starting the inning over. Nobody was on base and Shonna does a great job getting the next three outs.”
Penney gave up 10 hits in another complete game performance.
Walker Valley’s pitching star, Alicia Raymond, also went the distance and gave up 11 hits. Raymond went 5-2 in the tournament, losing twice to the Lady Trojans.
Haley Reynolds went 3-for-4 and triggered the Soddy-Daisy offense with a two-run homer off Raymond in the first inning. Reynolds added a double and finished with three RBIs.
“Walker Valley scored once in the first and we responded with three,” Skiles said. “That was big.”
Shana Ward was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs for the Lady Trojans.
Walker Valley 100 010 3 – 5 10 3
Soddy-Daisy 212 101 x – 7 11 2
Raymond and Chancey; Penney and Moore.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)