It was a miserable afternoon to be sitting at Lookout Valley Elementary School’s O’Mary-Conard Field for the last three games of the annual Yellow Jacket Classic softball tournament, but Sale Creek coach Clifford Kirk was just happy for his Sale Creek girls to have a chance to play.
It was a worthwhile weekend for the Lady Panthers as they won their pool by winning all three games on Friday. They put a little icing on the cake with two more wins on Saturday, including a 9-3 victory over the Marion County Lady Warriors in the championship game.
Rain fell for most of the afternoon and the temperatures continued to drop. Add a gusting win that was blowing in from the outfield and it was less than ideal conditions for a tournament on Easter weekend.
“This was a bad deal with the weather, but I felt like we adapted to playing in the rain today,” Kirk said after his team had improved to 14-5 for the season.
“We’ve had to deal with a lot of nagging injuries, but we’re coming along. We were able to put the bat on the ball today. We’ve played fewer games this spring than I can ever remember as a high school coach because of the rain, but this was a worthwhile weekend for us and it was good to play despite the rain,” he added.
Marion County coach Randy Ellis has been dealing with the injury bug too and that’s why Saturday’s championship game was called in the middle of the fourth inning.
“We can’t afford to take any more chances as we still have a season to finish,” he said shortly after it ended.
“I’m not real happy with our plate appearances as we have to get better there, but Sale Creek is a great team and that’s why they finished second in the state last spring,” Ellis nodded.
Marion County took the lead with two runs in the first, but it didn’t last long as Sale Creek sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the inning and scored six runs.
Sara Muir and Savanna Parker both singled with one out and both scored on a double into the corner in left by Peja Jordon.
The Lady Panthers responded with six hits in the first, the biggest blow being a bases-loaded double into right-center. Kristen Sharp plated Sale Creek’s first run with a single to right while another run scored on a double steal while the last one came via a sacrifice fly by Brooke Williford.
Muir doubled to lead off the third and scored on a single by Emily Sneed to make it 6-3, but just as quickly, Sale Creek came right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Madison Stott, Leah Campbell and Shelby Sullivan all had run-scoring doubles.
Stott was the winning pitcher after allowing the three runs on five hits. She also had four strikeouts and walked two while hitting one.
Bailey Davis, who normally plays first base, was the losing pitcher after allowing all nine runs on 11 hits. She also walked three.
Campbell, Sullivan and Hannah Hall all had two hits for Sale Creek while Muir was the only Marion player with two.
SALE CREEK 9, RED BANK 4: Sale Creek scored three runs in the first inning and four more in the second, but Red Bank’s defense was as much to blame as anything for the loss as the Lady Lions committed five errors in the first semifinal game.
Stott and Hall both had two hits for Sale Creek. Winning pitcher Macie Stanfield had a run-scoring single and finished with two runs batted in.
Shelby Romans and Whitley Gann both had RBI-singles for Red Bank by Sydney Hoppe and Hailey Hanks both had RBIs with bases-loaded walks in the second when a steady rain made gripping the ball difficult.
MARION CO. 8, TELLICO PLAINS 2: This second semifinal game was close for a while, but the Lady Warriors put things out of reach with five runs in the sixth.
Audra Schaefer had a two-run triple and Muir had a run-scoring single, but the game was called after Angel Miller suffered a seizure in right field. There was only one out at the time, but after a lengthy break, the game was called at that point.
Thomas, Muir and Schaefer all had two hits for the winners Muir adding a two-run homer in the third that sailed over the scoreboard in left.
Haley McGowan had two hits for the Lady Bears.
Muir was the winning pitcher after allowing two runs on five hits. She also struck out two and walked two.
McGowan doubled in the first and scored on a single by Ireland Whitmire. A sacrifice bunt by Alayna Hensley plated Whitmire with Tellico’s second run.
MARION CO. 201 0 – 3 5 2
SALE CREEK 603 x – 9 11 0
Davis and Thomas; Stott and Skiles.
FIRST SEMIFINAL GAME
RED BANK 040 00 – 4 4 5
SALE CREEK 341 1x – 9 7 1
Helms and Romans; Stanfield, Stott (2) and Skiles.
SECOND SEMIFINAL GAME
MARION CO. 102 005 – 8 9 0
TELLICO PLAINS 200 00x – 2 5 2
Muir and Thomas; Watson, Jones (4) and Whitmire.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)