MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Chattanooga Christian rose from a softball embarrassment on Thursday battled King’s Academy close in the Division II-A state championship.
“Yesterday was rough,” Lady Chargers senior pitcher Madison Hollis said. “We laid everything out there today between those two white lines. We fought for seven innings today.
The King’s Academy, which scored 13 runs in the first inning and beat CCS 17-2 a day earlier, pecked for just enough offense to beat the courageous Lady Chargers, 3-1, Friday for the title.
Hollis lasted 1/3 inning in Thursday’s blowout, giving up eight hits and eight runs in the disastrous inning. On Friday, Hollis checked the Lady Lions on five hits and single runs in the second, third and sixth innings.
“Last night I talked to one of our former coaches and said, ‘I need a pep talk after what happened yesterday.’ I was determined to come back today, put the team on my shoulders and do better. Then I put the earlier game out of my mind.”
After three innings, King’s Academy built a 2-0 lead and pitcher Kaylan Cole was no-hitting the Lady Chargers (25-11).
That changed in the fourth.
With one out, Savannah Ricketts broke up Cole’s no-hit bid with a clean single to right field. Hollis ripped a single down the left-field foul line. Lauren Kay grounded out. Lauren Day followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Ricketts but Miranda Blevins, running for Hollis on a typical Spring Fling blow torch of a day, was thrown out at home trying to tie the game.
“This is a day-to-day team,” said Ricketts, a sophomore. “The next day is a new day and the past is the past. We weren’t going down without a fight. We came over here last year and went 0-2 and that wasn’t a very good feeling either. Four years ago, CCS didn’t even have a softball team. This is the biggest accomplishment we’ve had.”
In the sixth with two outs, Hollis walked and Lauren Kay, hitless in two previous at-bats, flipped a single into right field, moving the courtesy runner to third. Lauren Day grounded out to end the inning.
Cole, a pepper-pot in the circle, got two quick outs in the seventh before Rachel Kay extended the game with a single to left. Madison Vandergriff, the Lady Chargers’ leadoff batter flied out to center on a well-hit ball.
“I’m so proud of the girls and it was amazing how they came back and played today,” Lady Chargers coach Lisa Gray said. “A lot of teams wouldn’t have come back with so much fight. It took a lot of guts to do that.”
Gray said she had a team meeting Thursday night talked about how the team could wipe the previous day out of their minds.
“No matter what,” she said, “we wanted to come back and play well. That was not us yesterday and we didn’t want to be remembered like that.”
KJ Ammons’ hit produced the Lady Lions’ second-inning run. Katelyn Norris started the third with a single to right, stole second and went to third on a groundout. Regan Weekly sent her home with a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Weekly reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Hayden Jennings’ double to left-center field.
King’s Academy 011 001 0 – 3 5 1
Chattanooga Christian 000 100 0 – 1 6 0
Cole and B. King; Hollis and Ma. Blevins.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)