published Monday, April 15th, 2013

Chattanooga area softball teams hosting breast-cancer-awareness fundraisers

Lady Owls Choo Choo Classic At The Summit of Softball Complex

Friday's pool-play schedule

Fields 3-5: 5-Walker Valley vs. Marion County, Soddy-Daisy vs. Coffee County, Hixson vs. Bledsoe County; 6:30-Farragut vs. Marion County, Coffee County vs. Bradley Central, Ooltewah vs. Bledsoe County; 8-Farragut vs. Walker Valley, Soddy-Daisy vs. Bradley Central, Hixson vs. Ooltewah.

Field 6: 4-McMinn County vs. Whitwell; 5:30-Central vs. Whitwell; 7-McMinn County vs. Lavergne; 8:30-Lavergne vs. Central.

Three softball teams are hosting breast-cancer-awareness fundraisers in the Chattanooga area each of the next three days, beginning today with East Ridge hosting Signal Mountain at 5 p.m.

The Lady Pioneers have already raised close to $900 to be combined with today's profits from the gate, further sales and raffles at the game. The beneficiary is the MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarship fund.

East Ridge coach Sandy Mauser said among the highlights will be April Hutson singing the national anthem and many of the girls from both teams will be recognizing or memorializing a family member or friend with breast cancer with the presentation of a pink carnation.

"The girls enjoy doing it and helping," Mauser said. "Some of the girls do a lot of sales of T-shirts around school and in the community. It's really a blessing that they took the initiative."

Arts & Sciences is playing GPS on Tuesday at 5:30 at Warner Park. CSAS coach Kaity Holloway, who played at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., had a teammate whose mother, Julie McLoughlin, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Holloway said plans are to drop the cost of ticket prices for the game and ask for donations, which will be sent to the Dallas area where McLoughlin lives.

On Wednesday, Meigs County will host Polk County at 5:30 in a key District 5-AA game in addition to raising money for Meigs County's chapter of the American Cancer Society. The Lady Tigers softball team has already raised $2,066 this school year through various bake sales and T-shirt sales and proceeds from Wednesday's gate will be added to that.

Meigs County coach Jeff Davis said in a ceremony before the game the Lady Tigers plan to name their field in honor of former assistant coach Karen Jennings Combs, who died in August 2012. She was the mother of Courtney Combs, a junior at Bryan College playing alongside Davis's daughter, Jill, and another former Meigs County player and classmate Kirstie Jennings. Jennings' father, Tim, also has ties to the Lady Tigers' program and Karen was his first cousin.

Lady Owls tourney set

Ooltewah will be hosting its long-running Lady Owls Choo Choo Classic high school softball tournament this weekend at The Summit of Softball Complex. Thirteen teams are in the tournament and a total of 13 pool-play games are scheduled on four fields Friday with the first at 4 p.m.

"I think we have some high-quality teams," Ooltewah coach Norma Nelson said. "We don't have a large quantity of teams, but a lot of the ones we have were in the state tournament last year. And we have good teams in Class A, AA and AAA, all divisions."

Action is set to resume Saturday morning at 9. Single-elimination is slated to begin at noon with the championship scheduled at 6.

RBI overload for McCalla

Boyd-Buchanan's Marisa McCalla had a game performance over the weekend in which she almost averaged two RBIs per inning.

The Lady Bucs hosted Covenant Christian Academy, from Huntsville, Ala., in a softball doubleheader Saturday. McCalla went 4-for-4 with a triple and seven RBIs in the second game, which Boyd-Buchanan won 18-1 in four innings.

McCalla, the Lady Bucs' center fielder, played left field on varsity last year as an eighth-grader. Boyd-Buchanan coach Brittany Carbonell had her batting in the No. 2 spot Saturday.

"She got them in, but the others in front of her have to get on," said Carbonell, who recalled having some multi-homer games playing at the University of Evansville but isn't sure if she had a seven-RBI game in college or high school. "That's pretty special. Her bat has come alive a lot more this year. When she gets in there she's ready to do something with it."

Not to be shunned, McCalla went 2-for-3 in an 11-4 victory in the first game. She finished the day with nine RBIs in the Lady Bucs' eight at-bats.

Lady Mustangs second

Walker Valley finished runner-up in the Gold bracket among the 24 teams that competed over the weekend in the Franklin/Sonic tournament. The Lady Mustangs won their first five games before falling to Ravenwood in the title game with the international tiebreaker in effect.

Sidney Hooper pitched 26 innings and gave up 19 hits, seven earned runs and three walks while striking out 33. She and Hallie Davis were each 6-for-15 with a home run apiece, a combined 11 runs scored and Hooper drove in five runs. A.J. Chancey paced the offense going 9-for-14 with two homers and eight RBIs.

“It was great competition,” Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said. “There were a ton of excellent teams there. It was invaluable experience for us. The girls fought to the end and never gave up. I was super proud of them. It's been a while since a Walker Valley team advanced that far in a tournament of that caliber.”

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.

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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