It’s tough to win a high school softball game when your team has a tough time scoring runs. On the other hand, wins come easily when the bats are swinging well.
That in a nutshell describes the Silverdale Lady Seahawks in their first two weeks of the 2021 season. They had a tough time scoring at the start, but runs have been crossing the plate in large numbers lately and the team in green is now over .500 as they head into spring break next week.
The Lady Seahawks scored 63 runs in five games this weekend as they rolled to the championship in the Lookout Valley Classic.
They scored 38 runs in opening day wins over South Pittsburg, Whitwell and Red Bank on Friday and they tallied 25 more on Saturday afternoon in a 15-4 victory over Signal Mountain in the second semifinal game. Then in the championship contest, they defeated North Jackson by a 10-2 final at Lookout Valley Elementary’s O’Mary-Conard Field.
North Jackson, which won four of its five games including an 11-3 victory over Red Bank in the first semifinal of the day on Saturday, is now 18-10 overall.
Nobody was any happier to see the Silverdale bats come alive any more than head coach Jackie Freeland, whose team is now 9-6 following the five wins this weekend.
“We finally started coming together as a team,” she began her post-game comments as fans from both teams headed toward the parking lot.
“We struggled with hitting at the start of the season and that cost us several games, but our bats came alive this weekend. Right now, we’re having fun as we’re putting the ball in play and advancing runners. Our pitchers have also done well lately. I think we’re finding our groove and I just hope it continues.
“We have spring break next week, but we have GPS on the Monday we come back, so we’ll just have to keep playing hard,” the former All-SEC performer at the University of Alabama concluded.
North Jackson coach Kevin Thompson felt like his team had a productive weekend, despite coming up a bit short in the final game.
“We had a really good weekend, but I think we just ran out of gas in this last game,” he said after a discussion with his girls after the game ended.
“Give Silverdale a lot of credit as they have a really good team. We had our opportunities to win, but we just didn’t execute in critical situations. I saw a lot of grit from my girls this weekend as we battled the whole time and we found out just what we’re made of.
“Things just didn’t go our way in that last game, but I’m really pleased with our progress and I honestly feel like we got better here this weekend and that’s always the goal,” he added.
Avery Wynne’s RBI single in the second gave North Jackson a 1-0 lead before the Lady Seahawks knotted it on a solo homer by Skyler Sheridan in the bottom half of the inning.
Two singles, two walks and a North Jackson error allowed three runs to score for Silverdale in the third for a 4-1 lead, but it was the final two at-bats where the Lady Seahawks scored six runs to put the game away, McCade Cooper’s RBI-single with two outs in the sixth being the final blow that ended the game.
Cooper finished the game with three hits and four runs batted in, including her second two-run homer of the day. She had two hits and four RBIs in the win over Signal Mountain.
Emry Masterson had two hits and scored twice in the championship game as Silverdale finished with 11 hits.
Junior Katie Willoughby was the winning pitcher in the final game as she went the distance and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out four and walking five. She also hit three batters.
Breanna Sexton was the winning pitcher in the semifinal win over Signal Mountain as she allowed four runs on two hits while walking four and striking out five.
Cooper had the big stick in the first game with her four RBIs while Kennedy Stinson, Willoughby and Sexton all had two hits.
Erika Woodward and Gracie Ellis had run-producing hits for Signal Mountain with Woodward’s being a double.
NORTH JACKSON 010 010 – 2 3 1
SILVERDALE 013 042 – 10 11 2
Burnette, Haynes (4) and Wynne; Willoughby and Hensley.
RED BANK 001 11 – 3 8 2
NORTH JACKSON 143 21 -- 11 14 2
Phillips and Bono; Burnette and Wynne.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 004 0 – 4 2 4
SILVERDALE 31(11) x – 15 12 1
Woodward and Coterel; Sexton and Hensley.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)