Monday wasn’t a very memorable day for high school softball teams in the Chattanooga, especially those in the Class AA competition.
The Sweetwater Lady Wildcats equaled a school record with their 20th win of the season in a not-so-close 12-2 victory over the home-standing Red Bank Lionettes.
The news wasn’t any better up in Madisonville where the Sequoyah Lady Chiefs defeated Signal Mountain by an identical 12-2 final.
Red Bank breezed through the District 6-AA tournament last week at Central as they didn’t have a close game while winning the tournament after going unbeaten in district competition during the regular season.
But the Lionettes had no answer for the Lady Wildcats, who collected 19 hits while scoring at least one run in four of the seven innings.
“I’m super proud of these young ladies as we just equaled a school record with our 20th win,” said Sweetwater coach Sarah Davies following a brief chat with her team in left field.
“We’ve scored a lot of runs this year and we had a lot of confidence when we walked on the field this afternoon. Red Bank has a good team with some outstanding hitters, but Emily Barnes found a gear I didn’t know she had and did a really nice job of shutting down their big bats.
“We didn’t make any errors and made a lot of routine plays that aren’t necessarily routine plays. But we made the big plays when we had to have them and I just hope we can carry this over to games later this week,” she added.
Sweetwater took a 1-0 lead in the first, but it was a seven-run fourth that ultimately sank Red Bank’s ship.
Mari Robbins led off the game with a double and scored on the first of five Red Bank errors.
The score remained the same until the fourth and that’s when the Lady Wildcats sent a dozen hitters to the plate.
Ally Starnes had a two-run single and Kylee Hicks a two-run double for the two biggest blows while Addie Lowe drove in the first run with a single. Alex Thompson drove in another with a grounder to second while Jordan Key plated the seventh run with a single up the middle.
Sweetwater added two more runs in the sixth and were on the verge of winning via the mercy rule before Red Bank came off the deck to score twice in the bottom of that same inning.
Whitley Gann led off with a single to right while Sydney Hoppe stroked a one-out single to right. Bailee Phillips popped to the pitcher for the second out, but Zoe Helms kept her team alive with a run-scoring single to left. Lexie Wright followed with a double that plated another run to keep the game going.
Sweetwater scored its final two runs in the seventh.
Abby Starnes singled with two outs while Hicks doubled to put runners on second and third. Both scored when Thompson reached on another Red Bank error.
Winning pitcher Emily Barnes, who had only allowed a single to Shelby Romans in the first and a double by Romans in the third, finished with a five-hitter. She retired the side in order in the seventh to finish the game.
Red Bank coach Mandi Munn did her best to encourage her girls to keep their heads up after ending the season on a tough note.
“We had our one inning where we just couldn’t seem to get anyone out, but we have plenty of room to grow with such a young team as Shelby is our only senior,” Munn expressed after Red Bank’s season ended at 15-8.
“I’m proud that we answered back and didn’t get shutout. We still had a little fight left and we didn’t quit. Sweetwater has an outstanding team and we need to hold our heads up high,” Munn concluded.
Romans was the only Red Bank player with two hits.
Ally Starnes, Hicks and Key all had three hits for Sweetwater while Robbins, Lowe, Abby Starnes, Morrison Davies and Barnes all had two hits apiece. Thompson is the only Lady Wildcat without a hit, but she did drive in a run with a groundout in the fourth.
Sweetwater left 10 runners stranded while Red Bank had four left on.
SWEETWATER 110 702 2 – 12 19 0
RED BANK 000 002 0 – 2 6 5
Barnes and Key; Phillips and Romans.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)