EVENSVILLE, Tenn. — Soddy-Daisy didn't have a lot more hits than Rhea County in their winners-bracket semifinal Tuesday in the District 5-AAA high school softball tournament. But the Lady Trojans definitely had more at the right times.
Back-to-back two-run innings allowed Soddy-Daisy to defeat the Lady Golden Eagles 4-1.
Walker Valley cruised past Ooltewah 11-1 in five innings in the other semifinal.
In between, Bradley Central defeated Cleveland 7-1 in a losers-bracket game.
The tournament resumes this afternoon at 4 with McMinn County taking on Rhea County (22-17), followed by Bradley facing Ooltewah at 6. Top-seeded Walker Valley (25-4) and second-seeded Soddy-Daisy (25-14) play at 8 in the winners-bracket final with the winner assured a berth in next week's Region 3 tournament.
The Lady Trojans' runs in the fourth came on consecutive two-out RBI hits -- Haley Reynolds' single and Savannah Moore's double. Morgan Bailey, who went 3-for-3 with a double, singled in two with one out in the fifth.
"I'll give up hits all day long if I know I'm going to get one timely hit," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said.
Winning pitcher Ashley Chaney gave up six hits and one walk to the Lady Golden Eagles, who put two aboard in the first and third innings but failed to score. Chaney ended up with two strikeouts but managed to retire nine on popouts or foulouts to infielders.
"We didn't put anything together, and they did," Rhea County coach Leah Price said. "If we had scored early I think our mentality would've been a little different coming into the fourth and fifth innings."
Rhea County's run came in the fifth when Whitney Thompson doubled with two outs and scored on a throwing error on Sarah Freels' infield single.
Brooke Hale went 2-for-4 and scored a run for Soddy-Daisy.
Sidney Hooper and Bayleigh Morgan sparked Walker Valley's win, each singling twice, driving in two runs and scoring a run. The Lady Mustangs were leading 4-1 before erupting for a five-run fourth, highlighted by A.J. Chancey's two-run double.
"They did a really good job of hitting strikes," Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said of her players. "I think the last couple of games we weren't as selective at the plate, waiting for a strike, waiting for our pitch we can drive. That made a difference."
Hooper also was the winning pitcher, throwing a three-hitter with five strikeouts.
Kelsey Chernak tripled in the Lady Owls' run in the third.
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.