The last time that Polk County High School's softball team won a regular-season district title, "Schindler's List" won the Academy Award for best motion picture that year. The theme from "Aladdin" won best song at the Grammy Awards. And no player on Polk's current regular-season-championship team was born yet.
The year was 1994. That team also went on and won the district tournament, which is the next goal in line for the 2014 team.
Bill Triplett is a longtime baseball coach who took over Polk County's softball program when his daughter, Lydia, was a junior in 2012. The coach's second cousin, sophomore Hannah Triplett, has teamed with junior Briana Muller to form a solid pitching tandem that Coach Triplett said has been the biggest key to success.
Muller is also the team's leading hitter at .524 and tops the team with 10 doubles and 23 RBIs. Freshman Aubrie Bowman leads with four home runs, 38 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.
"A lot of girls have contributed," Coach Triplett said. "I knew we were going to have a good team. But if you had told me we'd be 18-3 at this point in the season, I wouldn't have believed you."
Updating district races
In addition to Polk County in District 5-AA, other local teams that have locked up regular-season district championships are Whitwell in 6-A and Central in 6-AA.
Silverdale Baptist Academy hosts Arts & Sciences this afternoon at 5:30 in a game that will go a long way toward determining results at the top of the 5-A standings. Sequatchie County has district games scheduled this week against Signal Mountain on Tuesday and Wednesday and at Grundy County on Friday. Winning two would wrap up the 7-AA title for the Lady Indians.
It may take until next week to sort out the logjam in District 5-AAA where East Hamilton, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley sit at the top with two league losses each and Ooltewah has three. Walker Valley faces an especially pivotal stretch this week, playing at Ooltewah on Monday, at East Hamilton on Tuesday, and hosting Ooltewah on Wednesday. All three are scheduled for 5 p.m.
Baylor won 4-0 at GPS on April 8 in the only Division II-AA East/Middle Region games both have played so far. Pope John Paul II has separated itself as the top midstate team in the region having gone 5-0 against the other midstate teams in the region and beaten them by a combined 40-0. The Lady Knights are scheduled to play at GPS and at Baylor on May 3. The Bruisers' rematch with the Lady Red Raiders is slated for May 6 at Baylor at 5 p.m.
Temple getting Moore
Soddy-Daisy senior Savannah Moore has signed a letter of intent to play softball at Tennessee Temple University.
"It felt like it was going to be home there," Moore said. "I'll get a great education and also get to play softball, something I love. It's a win-win situation."
Moore can play outfield but primarily plays a more vital role as catcher for the 25-6 Lady Trojans.
"Savannah is a hard worker," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said. "She's really stepped up as a leader. She's taken to that role, along with the other three seniors. I wish her the best at the next level, but I hate to lose her."
Temple coach Randy Crawford said Moore has received plenty of good instruction playing at Soddy-Daisy, as well as from coaches Travis Hale and Jim Murray on her select team, the Chattanooga Mystics.
"I believe that she will have a big impact on the team right away," Crawford said. "She is quick behind the plate and has a strong bat. Her character and work ethic make for the kind of student-athlete that we want here at Temple."
Moore, who said she will major in biology, plans to sign scholarship papers next Monday in Soddy-Daisy's library at 1 p.m.
Cheatham to Columbia
Sequatchie County senior Katelynne Cheatham recently signed scholarship papers to continue her softball career at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tenn.
Cheatham said she visited the school about a month ago and then accepted Lady Chargers coach Johnny Littrell's offer.
"I practiced with the team a little bit," she said. "I took a tour of the school. The offer they made was good. They said, 'We want you.' I kind of fell in love with the campus, and I love the coaches, too."
Cheatham, who has played select ball for the Frost Falcons and coach Mike Gamble, primarily plays catcher for Sequatchie and some at third base. She had a strong sophomore year for the Lady Indians but missed most of last season with an injury. This year her .426 batting average, 25 RBIs, 27 runs scored, 15 stolen bases, two triples and 11 walks are all team-highs for District 7-AA-leading Sequatchie and she's tied for the team lead with five home runs.
"This year she has just really stepped up as a leader," Sequatchie coach Kelly Somerville said. "She talks and is a vocal leader in the field, aside from being able to hit."
Cheatham said she's considering a career in nursing.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.