published Monday, May 6th, 2013

Storms made Chattanooga area prep softball teams scramble to finish district tournaments on time

Saturday's rain spoiled the plans for many local softball and baseball teams ready to begin play, or continue playing, in TSSAA district tournaments this week. In all 13 softball games were washed out.

The District 6-A softball tournament at Sale Creek had its two play-in games wiped out. Sale Creek assistant coach Kendra Goforth said those games are now scheduled for today at 5 and 7 p.m.

If the rest of the tournament runs a day behind, as it stands now, that would put the losers-bracket final on Friday at 5 p.m., with the championship at 7. If necessary, a second championship game may have to be played afterward if the TSSAA enforces its rule that district tournaments are to be completed Friday.

Goforth said they don't want to schedule more than two games per day during the week because of End-of-Course testing today through Thursday this week, and most teams in that district have lengthy trips to get there. Tournament officials plan on contacting the TSSAA office today to try to get the 'if' game moved to Saturday.

"If a team comes through the losers bracket and gets to the championship and wins that first game, that would put them playing three games in one day," Goforth said. "Single-A is a lot differnt than double-A or triple-A. We don't have the number of players or pitchers that they do."

Making matters worse, the national weather service's local forecast is a 60 percent chance of rain today with a high temperature of 65.

"We might all be outside with hair dryers," Goforth said.

Another tournament the rain has created chaos for is District 5-AAA. Action got under way Friday with three games played at the home sites of higher-seeded teams, but five games were set for Saturday at Rhea County where the remaining games are scheduled to be played. Tournament director Micah Ruehling said the games originally scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday have been rescheduled today at 4, 6 and 8 p.m.

"We're going to try to do three games at a time," Ruehling said of the daily schedule going forward. "Then if Walker Valley is still playing Thursday, they have graduation and we're going to have to work around that."

Regardless of Walker Valley's situation, by playing three games per day the next three days the tournament could be completed before Saturday. If today's games are unplayable, Ruehling said they'll likely have to seek permission from the state office to play Saturday.

District 6-AA was supposed to have started two days ago with three softball games on two fields at White Oak Park in Red Bank. Tournament director Randy Smith said those games are now scheduled today on two fields at Warner Park, where the remainder of the tournament will be played.

As of now, the action in 6-AA will run one day behind the original schedule. Tuesday will remain an off day because of the park's unavailability that day. The final is now planned for Friday.

District's 5-A and 5-AA did not have softball games scheduled Saturday. Both districts have two games scheduled today. If those are unable to be played, the schedule is expected to be pushed back a day. Championships, including 'if necessary' games, would be played Friday.

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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