CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Walker Valley needed one victory Tuesday at Cleveland High School just to keep its softball season alive. The Lady Mustangs needed two victories to keep their hopes alive for a district championship.
They got both.
Walker Valley defeated Ooltewah 13-3 in five innings in the losers-bracket final and then edged Soddy-Daisy 5-3 in the first game of the final in the District 5-AAA tournament.
"I'm proud of our girls for coming out and playing hard the whole time," Walker Valley coach Lauren Limburg said. "They didn't take any innings off. They didn't take any pitches off. We were hitting our pitches at the plate, which is what we've been trying to do. I'm proud of their effort, their fight and their fire."
The championship will be decided today when Walker Valley (33-13) again takes on Soddy-Daisy (31-8) at Cleveland at 6 p.m. The winner will host the District 6 runner-up in one of Monday's Region 3 semifinals. The loser will visit the District 6 champion.
"Right now we're in a whole lot better situation than some are," Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said.
Second baseman Hallie Davis provided plenty of spark for the Lady Mustangs with her bat and her glove.
Davis ended the losers-bracket final by the 10-run mercy rule when her fifth-inning drive hit the top of the right-center-field fence and bounced over. She homered again, this time to left-center, to put Walker Valley up 1-0 in the third inning of the final and finished the day 3-for-6 with two walks, three RBIs and four runs scored.
Davis, who wears No. 88, looked like a football wide receiver making an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field for the first out in the second inning against Soddy-Daisy. She also prevented further damage in the Lady Trojans' three-run fifth by snagging a line drive near the dirt and turning it into an inning-ending double play that Skiles said was a momentum-breaker.
"Hallie played an awesome game," Limburg said. "We got off to a great start when she hit that home run. And I can't say enough about her defense. She has a knack of getting to the ball and she has a great first step."
Alicia Raymond earned both pitching victories and contributed a two-run single in the second game. She was perfect through three innings against the Lady Trojans and ended up allowing seven hits in both games.
"We knew Walker Valley had a great team and we knew they would come ready to play," Skiles said. "I thought Alicia did a great job today of keeping us off balance. I also thought their offense put the pressure on us."
Baylee Boen went 2-for-3 and scored twice for the Lady Mustangs in their first game, and she was 2-for-4 with a run scored against the Lady Trojans.
Cameren Swafford went 2-for-3 and drove in a run for Soddy-Daisy.
Elizabeth Novelli was 2-for-2 with a solo home run and a double for Ooltewah. Sloan Sullivan was 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the top of the fifth.
"I thought we came a long way from where we started. We struggled early on," Jon Massey said of his first season as Ooltewah's coach. "Today was just one of those days where we just didn't play well. We ended up 28-11, but I don't like to look at wins and losses. I like to look at how far we've come. We've come a long way. I think we've got some good kids coming up that can help us. Hopefully we can get a little better than pretty good."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him 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.