The winning continues for coach Norma Nelson and her East Hamilton Lady Hurricane softball team.
Less than 24 hours after the legendary coach recorded her 800th win, the Lady Canes came right back for a 9-4 victory over McMinn County in a game where East Hamilton had to come from behind to win, improving to 16-6-1 overall and 7-1 in District 5-AAA.
And after word reached the park that Walker Valley had beaten Soddy Daisy, there’s now a three-way tie with all three knotted at the top with seven wins and one loss.
Nelson has been in the coaching business a long time and has won many more times than she lost. She still has a head full of brown hair, but it will be turning gray real soon after her team waited until late before taking charge and winning going away.
That’s why Nelson and others have nicknamed them the “Cardiac Kids.”
“They have that name for a reason as they’ve had to come from behind a number of times to win this spring,” smiled Nelson following Tuesday’s game.
“They don’t always go about it the easy way, but they don’t quit. McMinn County always battles us. It seems like we had to come from behind to beat them the last time we played, but we were able to battle back for another big district win.
“Syerra didn’t have her best stuff as she allowed a bunch of hits and had five walks, but she still had 16 strikeouts. She’s a warrior and always gives it everything she has. But I’m proud of these girls. Even when we were down, we didn’t give up and kept hitting the ball hard,” Nelson nodded.
McMinn County coach Mark Rogers liked the way his team swung the bats, but it was a lack of defense that ultimately hurt more than anything.
“You can’t beat a bad team, much less a good one like East Hamilton, when you have six errors,” the coach expressed.
“We had the momentum early with the leadoff home run, but we turned right around and gave it back to them. We had runners on base in every inning and hit it well, but leaving runners in scoring position has plagued us all spring. We just couldn’t string anything together. I thought we played well enough to win if you take away all of those errors,” he added.
Sammie Greeson gave the Lady Cherokees an early lead when she hit the fifth pitch of the game over the fence in left for a solo homer.
It stayed that way until East Hamilton’s Dani Wasserstrom did the same in the bottom of the second to even the score.
The Lady Cherokees had their most productive inning in the third when they collected five hits and scored three runs, but a double play and a third-out strikeout prevented any further damage.
Greeson led off with a single and scored on a double by Lexi Cooley. Aaliyah Cagle singled to drive in the second run of the inning while Cami Wade’s RBI-single made it 4-1, still with no outs.
Sadie Brazzell grounded into a 1-6-3 double play for two quick outs before Taylor Hancock singled. The rally died when McKenzie Wall struck out swinging.
McMinn left 11 runners stranded for the game with at least one in every inning. The biggest missed opportunity for the Lady Cherokees came in the sixth when they loaded the sacks with nobody out and didn’t score.
Reagan Wade and Sierra Tate both reached on walks to start the inning before Greeson singled sharply to right to load the bases.
Rogers, who appears to thrive on tense, pressure situations, then struck out Cooley, Cagle and Wade to end the inning.
Emma Sam Reed had a run-scoring single in the fifth to give East Hamilton its first lead of the game at 5-4 before four runs in the sixth gave Rogers and her teammates a little breathing room.
Henley Apps drove in one run with a single to left while Nikki Wasserstrom’s fly to center plated a second run. The final two runs scored on McMinn’s sixth error of the game.
Brazzell walked to start the seventh and Wall singled with one out to put two runners on, but Rogers erased any thoughts of a comeback by striking out the final two batters to end the game.
Knox and Reed both had two hits as the Lady Hurricanes had 10 as a team and eight of nine batters had one each.
The Lady Cherokees finished the game with 11 hits, including three from Greeson and two from Cagle and Hancock.
Rogers went the distance to get the win for East Hamilton while Brazzell did the same and took the loss for the Lady Cherokees.
East Hamilton will host Bradley on Thursday in its next game while McMinn County will also be home on Thursday to entertain Soddy Daisy.
McMINN CO. 103 000 0 – 4 11 6
EAST HAMILTON 012 114 x – 9 10 1
Brazzell and Hancock; Rogers and N. Wasserstrom.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)