Soddy Daisy Blanked By Lady Raiders In AAA Sectional

Katie Rutledge Pokes Two-Run Single For Difference In 3-0 Final

Friday, May 19, 2017 - by John Hunt

There was an overflow crowd at Soddy Daisy’s Clifford Kirk Stadium Friday night, but they didn’t have a whole lot to cheer about.

The Region 3-AAA champ Lady Trojans came up a bit short as they fell to Region 4-AAA runner-up Coffee County by a 3-0 final in the sectional round of the TSSAA playoffs with a berth in next week’s state tournament on the line.

Hits were few and far between, but the Lady Raiders finished with six to Soddy Daisy’s three.

Perhaps the biggest difference was that the visitors from Manchester got at least one key hit with runners on base and the Lady Trojans did not.

“That was a great job.  I thought we had a shot to win this game and we did, but we never quit and that’s what makes this group of young ladies so special,” said Coffee County coach Steve Wilder after his team had punched its ticket for the Class AAA division of the state tournament, which will be played at the Starplex facility in Murfreesboro next week.

“There were a couple of tournaments at the beginning of the season where we weren’t playing very well.  If you had told me then that we’d be here tonight playing for a berth in the state tournament, I would have laughed at you, but these kids came through when it counted.

“I didn’t get nervous until I talked to a friend this morning who told me I could be another coach to take two teams to state in two different classifications.  That’s when I started thinking about it, but we play in a really tough district and that’s what helped us be ready for tonight’s opportunity,” he said, knowing that his team has lost four in a row to Lawrence County.

The Lady Raiders didn’t have anything to show after loading the bases in the second inning and they missed another scoring opportunity in the third when Katie Rutledge was stranded after ripping a leadoff single.

The third time was the charm for the Lady Raiders as they finally got a key hit in the fourth.

Soddy Daisy starting pitcher Shonna Penney had gotten two quick outs before Lauren Tomberlin got hit by a pitch, Raven Rogers reached on a throwing error and Sarah West walked to load the bases.

The sophomore Rutledge, who was the district MVP, came through with a  two-run single to right center.

Then in the fifth, Haley Hinshaw smacked a double to lead off and scored on another Soddy Daisy error.

With senior righty Kaylee Skipper in total control, that was more than the Lady Trojans could overcome as they only managed three hits all game against the pitcher who is the class salutatorian.

Soddy Daisy did have a couple of shots, but base-running mistakes led to two double plays that killed any kind of potential rally before they had a chance to materialize.

Hailey Woodcock led off the fifth with a single and went to second when Alexis Trimiar reached on a dropped fly to left.  Peri Prestwood then hit another fly to Rogers in left, who made a nice catch and made up for her error by doubling Woodcock off second.

Then in the seventh, Haley Harvey led off with a single, only to be doubled off first when centerfielder Rutledge made a nice running catch in the gap and quickly threw to first.  Skipper then recorded her third strikeout to end the game.

Soddy Daisy coach Travis Hale didn’t have a whole lot to say once this one ended.

“That was a tough one,” he began after the post-game chat with his players.

“We had plenty of chances, but we just made too many mistakes and we never could get a timely hit.  We have six seniors who will graduate tomorrow, but these younger girls know what it takes to get here and we’ll just have to bounce back.

“I thought both of our pitchers threw the ball well and the only reason I pulled Shonna was to give them a different look.  We really came on strong at the end of the year and had a great finish, just not quite as good as we would have liked,” Hale concluded.

Rutledge had half of Coffee County’s six hits while Rogers had two and Hinshaw one.

Aminah Wood had a single for Soddy Daisy in the fourth while Harvey and Woodcock had the other two.

The Lady Raiders now take a 24-16 record to the state tournament while Soddy Daisy’s season ends at 32-14.

COFFEE COUNTY  000 210 0 – 3 6 2

SODDY DAISY  000 000 0 – 0 3 2

Skipper and Tomberlin; Penney, Blevins (4) and Swafford.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


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