East Hamilton wasted little time in retaking the lead after Meigs County tied the score in the top of the sixth inning in Wednesday's Region 3-AA high school softball final at East Hamilton.
The Lady Hurricanes came in and got a bunt single and a stolen base from speedy leadoff batter Shaliyah Geathers, then No. 2-batter Tori Barnes followed with a run-scoring double. Just like that they were back in front and on their way to a 3-1 victory.
East Hamilton (20-13-2) is scheduled to host Bledsoe County in a state sectional Friday at 11 a.m. Meigs County (22-11) will play Friday at Upperman, which beat Bledsoe 1-0 in Wednesday's Region 4 final, at 6 p.m. EDT.
Before the start of the sixth the Lady Hurricanes were leading 1-0. East Hamilton coach Cara Stiles said she looked at assistant coach Hollie Pritchett and said she liked the situation they were in with the bottom third of Meigs' order coming up while the top of the Lady 'Canes' order was due up in the bottom half.
But the Nos. 8- and 9-batters for the Lady Tigers are who tied the game. Allison Hyde's single was misplayed in the outfield and she ended up on third. Bailee Nunley then singled her in.
But the joy was short-lived.
"It's bad when you tie it and they've got Geathers leading off the next inning," Davis said of the Lady 'Canes' University of Tennessee signee.
Barnes' double in the sixth was her second in the game and Kelsey Payne followed it with an RBI single. Barnes scored the first run on Maria Walshe's two-out double in the first inning.
Walshe was also the winning pitcher and had a perfect game through five innings.
"We tried to get them up on the plate," Davis said. "She just kept it outside and we kept playing like we've never batted before. I don't know what the deal was, but it's to her credit that she kept it out there."
Walshe's only walk came with one out to go. She had seven strikeouts.
"This game she's threw more first-pitch strikes and got ahead of more batters than at anytime in the two years I've coached her," Stiles said. "That's so big. It puts more pressure on the batter."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/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 email@example.com.