published Monday, March 17th, 2014

Red Bank softball happy to have home field

After a few years as nomads, the Red Bank High School softball team has a new home field again.
After a few years as nomads, the Red Bank High School softball team has a new home field again.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

Lady Wildcats March Madness

Friday’s pool play

At Hixson High

3:30—Hixson vs. Red Bank; 5:15—Bledsoe County vs. Silverdale Baptist Academy; 7— Marion County vs. Arts & Sciences; 8:45—Hixson vs. Silverdale

At Hixson Middle

3:30—East Ridge vs. Grace Academy; 5:15—East Ridge vs. Marion County

No more games at Warner Park. No more games at White Oak Park. Red Bank has a true home field again.

The Lionettes used to play their high school softball games behind the school a few years ago. But the field they played on along with another used for girls’ youth softball were closed so that a new middle school could be built.

Girls’ youth games have moved to White Oak Park. And as part of the agreement with the middle school project, a new on-campus field was built for the school teams. The season- and home-opener was March 10 against Cleveland.

“It’s awsome,” Red Bank coach Mandi Munn said. “It’s really been nice having a home field again. That’s something we haven’t had in a few years. And the facility itself is beautiful.”

True road Warriors

Hopefully Bledsoe County’s Lady Warriors enjoyed their season-opening game at home against Signal Mountain on Tuesday. That’s because they won’t play another home game until March 31.

Bledsoe County is on spring break this week and didn’t want to make any gatekeepers come in and work during their off time. Also, the Lady Warriors are from District 7-AA and between Chattanooga Christian not fielding a team this season and Notre Dame, another team from that district, playing only a nondistrict schedule, they lost at least one home game there that would’ve been in March.

To compensate for the loss of those four district games, Bledsoe is playing in Hixson’s March Madness tournament this weekend. The Lady Warriors also have away games scheduled today through Thursday leading up to the tournament. Additionally they have road games set for Monday and Thursday next week, then a weekend tournament at Cookeville before coming back home to host Upperman — 20 days after the home opener.

“Historically in March we haven’t had the best weather at home so we thought we’d flip it around and play more there in April when the weather’s better,” Bledsoe coach Janice Ritchie said. “We tell them that any field is a normal field. It’s all going to work out.”

‘Pink Out’ games

The first of three breast-cancer-awareness softball games in the Chattanooga area this season is scheduled to take place Wednesday when East Ridge hosts Cleveland at 5 p.m. Proceeds from the gate and the sales of pizza and baked goods will be forwarded to the MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarship fund.

Coach Sandy Mauser said this is the Lady Pioneers’ fourth year to hold such an event, and now all the other sports teams at East Ridge have done something similar.

“We’ve got great support from our community,” Mauser said. “The girls take pride in it. It’s the first thing they ask about when the schedule comes out, ‘When is the Pink Out game?’ They see the importance of it.”

The other local fundraising games are April 8 when Hixson hosts Soddy-Daisy at 7 p.m., and April 28 when Ooltewah hosts Cleveland at 5.

Lady ‘Kees finish 2nd

McMinn County was the highest-finishing local team over the weekend in Meigs County’s Tiger Classic at the Market Street Complex in Dayton. The Lady Cherokees were 4-2 overall, losing 6-4 to Carter from Knoxville in six innings in the championship game of the Orange or higher division.

Shelby Theobald led McMinn County over the weekend batting .538 (7-for-13) and scoring nine runs. Jesse Mizell (7-for-18) was the RBI leader with 11, and Alicia Long went 5-for-10. Freshman Hope Mizell was the pitching leader, going 3-1 with 13 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched.

“We were just looking for improvement,” said McMinn County coach Bo Cagle, whose team had lost District 5-AAA games to Soddy-Daisy and East Hamilton earlier in the week. “That was the main thing, just getting better. Each game we made progress. We were better each time we went out there.”

In the Black or lower division, Sequatchie County went 3-0 in single-elimination Saturday, beating Bradley Central 13-9 in the final. After going 2-for-2 with two stolen bases and a run scored in a 7-3 six-inning victory over McMinn Central in a semifinal, the Lady Indians’ Katelynne Cheatham was 3-for-5 with a triple, two doubles, four RBIs and two runs scored in the championship game. Freshman Emily Yell had two pitching victories, including the final, and a save in the three games.

Hixson March Madness

Hixson is hosting the Lady Wildcats March Madness tournament this weekend at the high school field and the Hixson Middle School field.

Eight local teams make up the field. The first two of Friday’s six pool-play games are slated for 3:30 p.m.

Pool play resumes Saturday at 9 a.m. Teams will be seeded for single-elimination, which is set to start at both fields at 2:15 in the afternoon. The championship is scheduled at the high school field at 8 p.m.

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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