published Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Bledsoe wins with bigger hits

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    Bledsoe County's Haley Reagan, No. 8, makes contact during Tuesday afternoon's game against Sequatchie County in Dunlap. Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press

DUNLAP, Tenn. — More hits and fewer errors do not guarantee victory. Sequatchie County’s softball team proved that Tuesday.

What Bledsoe County proved Tuesday was it was the better team, taking advantage of its opportunities in defeating the Lady Indians 6-2 in the District 7-AA high school game.

Although Sequatchie ended up with eight hits to Bledsoe’s seven, Sequatchie’s were singles while three of the Lady Warriors’ went for extra bases. The first was Haley Fugate’s leadoff homer to center field.

“That really got us motivated,” Bledsoe coach Janice Ritchie said. “We knew we’d have to hit and we came out hitting.”

Bledsoe (9-2, 3-0) extended its lead in the third inning with Kayla Reagan’s two-out, two-run single. The runners were Mackenzie Smith, who walked, and Fugate, who reached on a throwing error.

The turning point came in the fifth which, like the third, began with Smith drawing a walk. With two out, designated player Jaclyn Saunders, in her third game back since having arthroscopic surgery, launched a two-run shot over the left-field fence that Reagan followed with a double. Lydia Ritchie, the coach’s daughter, added an RBI single.

The pitch before Saunders’ home run was a two-strike changeup that was called a ball and drew some groans from the Sequatchie side.

“There’s nothing you can do about a judgment call,” Sequatchie coach Courtney Stewart said. “In two pitches it can change that much.”

The Lady Indians’ runs came in the last two innings. Meredith Mitchell delivered a run-scoring single in the sixth and Emily Dagnan reached second in the seventh when her single was misplayed in the outfield, and she later scored on an error by winning pitcher Ritchie.

The sophomore right-hander allowed two walks and had five strikeouts, but the late miscue wasn’t her only one in the game.

“She fought really hard for those seven innings,” Coach Ritchie said. “She’s got a lot of heart. She’s trying to do what she can, but she’s got to learn when to let her defense make the plays.”

Sequatchie (8-2, 2-1) threatened throughout, stranding at least one runner in scoring position in every inning but the last.

“We left 11 on base,” Stewart said. “We just couldn’t get it finished. It was just one of those things. It’s March, it’s early, it’s our 10th game, so we’ve got a lot of ball left to play.”

Fugate, Saunders and Reagan ended with two hits apiece for the Lady Warriors.

Chasity Carlton was 3-for-4 for the Lady Indians.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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