JASPER, Tenn. — As she tried to wipe sweat from her face as she stood near her team's dugout, Harlie Jordan wound up smearing dirt across her cheeks. It was the only mistake the Marion County freshman made all evening.
Jordan went 2-for-3, including a two-out, two-run double down the third-base line, and pitched the seventh inning for a save in the Lady Warriors' 3-2 District 6-A victory over county rival Whitwell. That wrapped up Marion's fourth consecutive regular-season district championship.
"She's had moments this year where she's come up big for us," Marion coach Chris Thomas said of Jordan. "She had two home runs in the Hixson tournament recently, including a grand slam, so she knows how to hit the ball on the nose.
"It was big for us to get on the board early, because you always know Whitwell is going to put runs on the board. That was big for our confidence."
Leadoff hitter Brooke Baxter doubled for the Lady Warriors in the first inning and eventually scored on a Whitwell throwing error, one of three committed by the Lady Tigers.
After Jordan's double in the third gave Marion a 3-0 lead, Whitwell began to chip away. Carly Woods' two-out single drove in Whitwell's first run, and Hailey Andregg plated another with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
But the Lady Tigers wasted scoring opportunities in the third and sixth innings. They had runners on third and second bases with one out in the third and failed to score, then left Kacee Hedrick stranded on third in the fifth after she led off the inning with a double and moved up on a bunt.
"We really hurt ourselves with all the errors and leaving runnings on base," Whitwell coach Grace Pickett said. "Any time you get chances to score, even one run, on really good teams, you have to take advantage."
After Erica O'Kane scattered four hits and worked her way out of trouble twice, Jordan came on and struck out two of the three batters she faced.
"There was pressure when I went out there, for sure," Jordan said. "But I just try to block everything out and come through for my team."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...