BEECH 2, SODDY-DAISY 1
Beech 001 000 01 — 2 7 3
Soddy-Daisy 100 000 00 — 1 6 0
WP: Alex Banks.
LP: Kelsey Nunley.
HR: Heather Montgomery (B).
Other highlights: H. Montgomery 2-4, 2 RBIs; C.J. McClain 2-4; Kassydi Montgomery 2-3 (B); Kali Henderson, Alex Everett each 2-4 (SD).
Records: Beech 42-11-2; Soddy-Daisy 41-9.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—For the Beech softball team, the third time wasn’t the charm, but the fourth did the trick just fine.
Heather Montgomery hit an eighth-inning home run, and the Lady Buccaneers ended three years of frustration by defeating Soddy-Daisy 2-1 to win the Class AAA state championship Friday night. It was the Hendersonville school’s fourth consecutive finals appearance, yet it had suffered losses to the Lady Trojans, Riverdale and Ooltewah in the previous three.
Montgomery’s homer proved to be the difference in a pitchers’ duel between Soddy-Daisy’s Kelsey Nunley and the Lady Bucs’ Alex Banks.
“The way the ball flew off the bat, I knew it was going far, but I didn’t expect the ball to go out,” Montgomery said. “I was prepared to keep running just to make sure.”
That wasn’t the case in the bottom of the seventh for Soddy-Daisy, which suffered a huge mistake when freshman pinch-hitter Savannah Moore hit a ball that she thought had cleared the fence. She raised her arms in celebration and started to round the bases, but a solid throw from the outfield got her out at second, much to the dismay of coach Clifford Kirk.
“It looked like it was out, and she thought she had hit it out,” Kirk said. “We’re a young team, and we did some dumb things that you can’t do in these situations.”
The Lady Trojans (41-9) struck first in the bottom of the first inning when Cassidy Hackney reached on an error and later scored on a fielder’s choice.
Beech tied the game in the third on a single by Montgomery, but the two teams battled through four scoreless innings until her eighth-inning heroics.
“We came together as a team this year,” she said. “It feels good to get the win against Soddy-Daisy because there’s so much of a rivalry between the two teams.
“Last year, we were picked to win state and they won; this year, they were picked to win and we won.”
Soddy-Daisy worked its way from the losers bracket to get a chance to defeat Beech.
“It was going to be hard to have a season like we had last year,” Kirk said. “We had some kids hurt and ended up playing a lot of freshmen. I thought we got better as the season went along, though, and we had a chance to win it all again this year.”
n Soddy-Daisy 2, Riverdale 1: The Lady Trojans won the losers-bracket final on Kali Henderson’s single.
With the international tiebreaker in effect, Hackney began the bottom of the 10th inning on second base with Soddy-Daisy trailing. After Morgan Bailey fouled off two pitches attempting to sacrifice, she was hit by a 1-2 pitch.
Alex Everett singled, but shortstop Courtney Clark’s diving stop kept it in the infield. With the bases loaded, Henderson sent a shot back through pitcher Rachel Albritton’s legs for the game-winner.
“I’m just trying to take my time and slow things down,” said Henderson, who was 2-for-5. “Just relaxing mostly.”
Brittany Lanham went 3-for-4 in the victory.