In a roundabout way, Central's Lady Purple Pounders can claim they were third-best over the weekend among the 16 teams in Soddy-Daisy's 23rd Lady Trojan Classic high school softball tournament at Soddy Lake Kids' Park.
Central defeated Karns 7-1 on Saturday in the championship game of the Silver bracket, which was for the eight teams not finishing in the upper halves of their pool.
However, the Lady Pounders' losses in Friday's pool play were to Seymour and Union County, the teams that met in the Gold-bracket final. Seymour beat Union County 8-2, avenging a 3-2 loss in their pool-play opener.
Central (9-4) defeated Grace Academy 9-2 and beat Powell 6-1 in elimination play on the way to the Silver title game. Central coach LeeAnne Shurette said her team's level of play Saturday was closer to standard.
"They just did their job," Shurette said. "We went and caught the ball and made the plays. And we hit when we had runners in scoring position."
Shurette also noted that players came up with some clutch hits with two outs, which was the case with all three of the Lady Pounders' key hits in their championship game.
Southern Illinois signee Brook Womack broke a scoreless tie with a triple to the left-center-field gap with one aboard in the third. The next inning freshman Alexis Grampp connected for a three-run homer to left. Brooke Eller's two-RBI single to right capped a three-run fifth.
"We were making good contact early," Shurette said. "We were just under it a little bit. We made the corrections we needed to and then started hitting the ball hard."
Chasidy Ainslie pitched all three games Saturday for Central. After giving up a bunt single to leadoff batter Kristen Sands, the only other hits she allowed against Karns were Miranda Smith's infield single starting the sixth and Amanda Adkins' run-scoring double an out later.
Ainslie pitched around four walks and Central made two errors. She struck out three.
"She's just a fighter who can consistently keep going," Shurette said of the junior right-hander. "As long as we need her to go, she'll go.
"I thought we made some good plays on defense, too, to get out of some things."
Womack and Grampp were each 2-for-3 in the final for the Lady Pounders.
Soddy-Daisy and Bledsoe County were the highest-finishing area teams in the Gold bracket, each bowing out in a semifinal. Bledsoe (12-2) loaded the bases in its final at-bat against Union County before lining into a game-ending double play in a 2-0 loss.
Soddy-Daisy (12-2), which scored 14 runs in its previous game, lost 6-0 to Seymour in a rematch of last year's Gold final won by the Lady Trojans. Carly Lewis pitched a two-hitter in the five-inning game.
"You have to give her credit," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said. "She kept us off balance. Good pitching will shut down good hitting."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter/KelleySmiddie.
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.