Player of the Year
For the second consecutive year, Walker’s pitching and batting were key components in helping Grace Academy get to the state final. This year as a senior, her statistics were even greater in many major categories.
Walker went from 28 pitching victories last year to 31 this year and lowered her ERA from 0.90 in 2010 to 0.66. Her 19 home runs this season were nine more than last year’s total. She batted .486 this season, and her 13 doubles and eight triples aided her 1.109 slugging percentage. Her 326 strikeouts left her with 1,153 for her career.
Because the team again came up short in its bid to be Grace’s first program to win a TSSAA championship, Walker’s signature conquest will be beating Soddy-Daisy — a 10-time state finalist and Class AAA runner-up this season.
“We played them a few times in her career,” said Grace coach Tina Walker, Lacye’s mother. “They were always close games, but they always beat us. That was a highlight in her career, no doubt about it.”
Coach of the Year
Smith guided a Baylor team with no seniors to a 33-8 record and the Division II-AA state championship. She credited juniors Braleigh Angel, Kelsie Clark and Kaitie Sims for being responsible team leaders.
Smith, who was assisted by Tom Watson and Susan Ross, said the first practice with the 2011 Lady Red Raiders was the best first day of practice in her nine seasons in charge of the program.
“Everybody was diving for balls,” Smith said. “It was so intense.”
Smith said she knew then her team had the talent to be state champion; it was just a matter of everyone coming together. Baylor had been runner-up the year before.
“It left a bitter taste in our mouths finishing second,” Smith said. “This year we were not going to be outworked. We were going to do everything in our power to get back to that game, but this time have a different result.”
She batted .431 with six homers, three in one game, totaled 49 RBIs and scored 30 runs.
She had a 23-11 pitching record with a 1.18 earned run average and 77 strikeouts in 201 innings.
She hit .512 with 12 extra-base hits, stole 31 bases, scored 55 runs and drove in 20.
The ETSU signee batted .399 with four homers, 13 doubles, 35 RBIs and 33 runs scored.
She hit .571 with two home runs and two triples, scored 33 runs and had 18 stolen bases.
Senior designated player
The Tennessee Wesleyan signee hit .414 with five homers, eight doubles, 35 RBIs and 37 runs scored.
The Carson-Newman signee and defensive whiz hit .486, stole 61 bases and scored 36 runs.
She was 25-7 with an ERA of 0.78, walking 17 and striking out 273 in 214 innings pitched.
She batted .459 and drew 19 walks, hit three home runs and 16 doubles and had 43 RBIs.
She hit .504, stole 23 bases, scored 52 runs and had two homers, 14 triples and 37 RBIs.
She hit .476 with seven homers, 28 doubles, 11 steals, 40 RBIs and 58 runs scored.
The ETSU signee wound up batting .373 with three homers, nine doubles and 30 RBIs.
Teams of the year
1-- BAYLOR (33-8)
The Lady Raiders were the No. 1-seeded team from the East/Middle Region in the Division II-AA state tournament and won the sixth state title in program history.
1-- SODDY-DAISY (41-9)
The Lady Trojans graduated four starters off a Class AAA state-championship team and came back as state runners-up, winning District 5 and Region 3 along the way.
3-- GRACE ACADEMY (41-9-1)
The Lady Golden Eagles finished second in the Class A state tournament for the second consecutive year after repeating as District 5 and Region 3 champions.
Chasidy Ainslie Central Freshman Pitcher
Katelyn Bowen Ooltewah Junior Outfielder
Madison Boyd GPS Junior Outfielder
Bethany Cowart Grace Academy Junior Outfielder
Tory Denayer Soddy-Daisy Sophomore Pitcher
Kaitlyn Eldridge Grace Academy Junior Infielder
Cassidy Hackney Soddy-Daisy Sophomore Infielder
Morgan Lane GPS Junior Infielder
Hannah Powell Central Sophomore Catcher
Katy Richardson GPS Sophomore Utility
Kaitie Sims Baylor Junior Pitcher
Sara Walker Central Senior Infielder