Dobyns Bennett Sends Walker Valley Home After Tough Loss

Lady Mustangs Fall In Final Four Of State 4A Softball Tournament

  • Thursday, May 23, 2024
  • Joe Cannon
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  — Four trips to the TSSAA State Softball Championships has seen Walker Valley make four Final Fours after bouncing back from an opening-round loss for a pair of big wins to advance to the semifinals once again, at the Spring Fling.

“Love. Fight. Heart. Determination. Dedication. These are just a few of the words that describe this group of young ladies,” declared a proud Feisty Fillies wrangle Lauren Limburg after a tough 3-2 loss to eighth-ranked Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett in the second of back-to-back one-run battles Thursday. 

“It has been an absolute honor to be their coach.
What a great season! Final 4 in the state. Wow! 

“I couldn’t be prouder of their resilience. I am so proud to be a Walker Valley Lady Mustang. Thank you to all the parents and fans that supported us along this journey. It is one that I will never forget,” she proclaimed.

Walker Valley brought home state runner-up trophies in 2005 and '18, plus finished fourth in 2004 in their previous Spring Flings.

The sixth-ranked Feisty Fillies wrap up the season with a 32-9-1 record after blasting No. 7 Arlington 12-6 Wednesday morning and having to take over 19 hours to put away third-ranked Nolensville 3-2 in the loser’s bracket final.

After the first two Walker Valley batters got on base to open the contest Wednesday afternoon, lighting and a severe thunderstorm caused the pause before play was resumed early Thursday morning.

Third minutes after the hard-fought battle with the Lady Knights, the Fillies were right back on the field to face a rested Dobyns-Bennett crew and Arizona State pitching signee Julianna Tipton, who had shut them out 4-0 in Tuesday’s opener.


Coming off he exciting win over Nolensville, and Walker Valley junior hurler Ryann Presswood setting D-B down in order in the top of the first, the Feisty Fillies jumped on top early when junior Karly Blackwell led off the bottom of the first with a solid single.

Classmate Amy Benson bunted Blackwell to third and junior Allyssia Davenport beat out an infield hit then her and Blackwell were able to move up an extra base on a throng error for the game’s first score.

The girls from the Virginia state line got back-to-back two-out hits in the top of the second, but a nice 9-5-4 play nailed the Lady Indian batter at second trying to move up on the throw to third base. To end the at bat.

Walker Valley also got a pair of runners on in the bottom of the frame when sophomore Madison Thomas reached on an infield hit and  classmate Autumn Lanclos ripped a two-out single, but a diving highlight catch on a sinking liner off Blackwood’s bat in short left field stranded a pair.

Dobyns-Bennett (33-11) evened the score in the top of the fourth with a one-out solo shot over the left field fence by Allie McConnelee and took the lead when the next batter walked and eventually scored on an error.

The Lady Indians picked up another solo home run in the top of the sixth for an insurance run and then had to cash it in as Walker Valley put up a score in the bottom of the frame.

East Tennessee State signee Addison Woodall reached on a one-out error on a ball the went between the Lady Indian first baseman’s legs and was fielded by the second baseman who while diving for he bag collided with Woodall who was safe on the play.

The Feisty Fillies centerfield shook off the pain and remained in the game moving to second on a botched fielder’s choice error that allowed Presswood to reach and followed by a single from sophomore Brylie Davis, Wednesday’s two-home run hero.

With he bases jammed, Thomas lifted a sac fly to score the run, but a base runner miscue allowed the D-B catcher to run down a player who had rounded third too far on the play, for the final out.

Neither team could circle the bases in the final frame, sending the Lady Indians Ito Friday’s championship game.

Although her strikeout numbers dipped from eight in Tuesday’s opener to just three Thursday, Tipton went the distance, scattering Walker Valley singles to Blackwell, Davenport, Thomas and Lanclos in the first two frames, but only one to Davis the rest of the way.

Presswood also fired a complete game, notching a trio of Ks, walking a pair and allowing eight hits.


Blackman opened the game with a solid single to left-center field and Benson walked, but after a 2-0 count on Davenport play was halted due to lightning in the area Wednesday afternoon.

With the impending thunderstorms washing out the rest of the day’s action, the tams regathered at 9 a.m. Thursday and everybody was put back in place.

Davenport finished her at bat with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base before Woodall drove them in with a ringing double to the left-center gap. After moving to third on a wild pitch, she race home with what turned out to be the game-winning run on a passed ball.

Nolensville’s (32-9-2) final scores of the season came on solo home runs by Kendra McNiel with two-out in the fourth and Addison Leichty to open the bottom of the fifth.

The Fillies knocked seven hits in the victory with Woodall going 2-for-4 with her two-bagger, two RBI and run scored to lead the way.

Davis went 2-for-3, including a double, and drew a free pass, while Benson reached base three times with a hit and a couple of walks.Blackwell was “plunked” to go with her single, while Thomas “took a pair for the team.” Davenport also laced a two-bagger in the victory.

Presswood once again dominated in the circle, going the distance with four Ks and no free passes, while scattering five hits.
Game Summaries
TSSAA Class 4A
Softball State
Thursday, May 23
At Starplex Field #2
Dobyns-Bennett 000 201 0 — 3 8 4
Walker Valley 100 001 0 — 2 5 1
WP: Julianna Tipton 7 IP, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 5 hits, 0 ER. LP: Ryann Presswood 7 IP, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 8 hits, 3 ER. HR: Allie McConnelee (DB). 2B: Tipton (DB). RBI: McMillon, Cati Zani (DB); Madison Thomas (WV). Records: Dobyns-Bennett 33-11; Walker Valley 32-9-1.

Elimination Game
Walker Valley 300 000 0 — 3 7 0
Nolensville 000 110 0 —2 5 1
WP: Ryann Presswood 7 IP, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 5 hits, 2 ER. LP: Sydney Dickinson 0.2 0 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 1 hit, 2 ER. HR: Addi Leitchty, Kendra McNiel (N). 2B: Alexis Sparkman (N); Allison Woodall, Brylie Davis, Allyssia Davenport (WV). Leitchty, McNiel (N); Davenport 2. Records: Walker Valley 32-8-1; Nolensville 32-9-2.


(Contact Joe Cannon at

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