CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Apparently tired of seeing Ooltewah's defenders make sparkling plays, Walker Valley's Hallie Davis hit a ball in the bottom of the ninth inning that none of them could reach.
Her line shot that skipped into the fence in left field was a game-winning single as soon as Allie Morrow crossed the plate.
The Lady Mustangs edged the Lady Owls 3-2 in District 5-AAA high school softball Monday at Walker Valley.
Walker Valley (16-5, 5-1) kept its hopes alive of gaining at least a share of the district regular-season title. The Lady Mustangs host league leader Soddy-Daisy today at 5 p.m.
"I try to get the girls to focus on every pitch, every ball, every hit and be their best," Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said. "What happens happens. Tomorrow we'll focus in on Soddy-Daisy. We're into the second half of the season now, and we just need to keep pushing strong."
The Lady Mustangs could still end up outside the top two seedings in the district tournament. A rematch at Ooltewah (19-8, 4-3) is a week from today.
"If we win the rest of our district games -- and we've got to play them again -- I think we still have a chance to be No. 2," Ooltewah coach Norma Nelson said.
Walker Valley's ninth began with back-to-back walks to Morrow and Rachel Percy before pitcher Taylor Baird notched the last of her four strikeouts. Four of Baird's five walks occurred from the seventh on, when rain began falling steadily, as was her only wild pitch, which was right before the hit by Davis.
"The conditions weren't great, but I know it was the same for both pitchers," said Nelson, who was frequently having to dry off softballs with a towel and thought the routine became disruptive to Baird's rhythm.
Limburg praised the mental toughness shown by her pitcher Sidney Hooper, who limited the Lady Owls to five hits. She walked two and struck out five.
Baird allowed seven hits.
"They're a great team, solid all the way around," Limburg said. "They're good 1 through 9 and she's a great pitcher. I'm just proud of our girls for continuing to fight and not giving up."
Hooper was also 2-for-4 with an RBI infield single in the third and Rachel Percy had a run-scoring double in the fourth. Davis and A.J. Chancey also doubled for the Lady Mustangs.
Katelyn Bowen, who made a catch near the fence in center with the bases loaded in the seventh, homered leading off the sixth for Ooltewah. Allie Jones delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the fourth, then stayed in the game and threw a runner out at home in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Abby Daniels picked a runner off second base to end the fourth and added a diving catch of a foul bunt with one on and none out in the sixth.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.