BENTON, Tenn. — It took a wild pitch in the 10th-inning international tiebreaker but a champion was finally declared Wednesday in the Region 3-AA high school softball tournament at Polk County.
Chasidy Ainslie, Central's tiebreaker runner in the top of the inning, raced home with two outs and Brooke Parrott pitched out of a situation with runners at third and second with one out in the bottom of the inning and the Lady Purple Pounders held on 5-4.
"I'm just proud of the girls for fighting all the way through," Central coach LeeAnne Shurette said.
Central (20-21) will host either DeKalb County or Sequatchie County in a state sectional and Polk County (25-7) will play at the other. Sectionals are scheduled for Friday, but Sequatchie County has graduation Friday, so its game could be on Friday or possibly Saturday.
DeKalb and Sequatchie played one scoreless inning in Dunlap on Wednesday when rain suspended play. That game will resume today at 4 p.m. EDT.
The Lady Pounders scored twice in the first inning after two were out. The runs came in on Chasidy Ainslie's single.
The Lady Wildcats answered quickly, getting a one-out, two-run homer from Briana Muller in the bottom of the first. They tacked on another later in the inning on a throwing error.
The score remained 3-2 until Muller led off the sixth with her second home run. Central's Sam Scott singled and later scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh and Britney Sylvester doubled in the tying run.
Both teams had scoring opportunities in between. Among Polk shortstop Aubrey Bowman's plays, she stole an RBI hit by snagging a two-out line drive in the fifth, and she handled another difficult chance with one out in the sixth.
"She made some great plays," Shurette said. "Some of those we hit hard. We probably score a couple of more runs if not for the plays she made."
The Lady Wildcats were 3-for-3 on stolen bases before catcher Sylvester threw out the next two trying to steal. Another runner got caught off third and tagged in a rundown and they hit into two double plays.
"I'm not down on my bunch," Polk County coach Bill Triplett said. "We just didn't get a timely hit. We did OK in two of the three phases of the game. We pitched pretty well. We played pretty good defense. Somebody's got to step up and get a timely hit. It doesn't matter how many you get, it's when you get them."
Winning pitcher Brooke Parrott allowed seven hits and four walks and she hit a batter. With 11 strikeouts, she has now registered double digits in strikeouts in each of her three postseason starts.
Sylvester finished 2-for-3 and Alexis Grampp was 2-for-5 and scored twice for Central. Scott also went 2-f0r-5, and Ally Welch was 2-for-4.
Muller was 3-for-5 for Polk.
Lady Trojans leading late
The Region 3-AAA softball championship game at Soddy-Daisy went to the seventh inning Wednesday, but with two on and one out in the top of the inning and the Lady Trojans leading Cookeville by two, play was suspended.
The game will resume at that point today. Soddy-Daisy coach Wes Skiles said depending on how much more rain falls and how much work it takes to get the field ready will determine today's starting time. He said likely 8 p.m.
The Region 3-AA championship game betweek DeKalb County and Sequatchie County at Dunlap was suspended at 5:19 EDT because of rain after one inning of play.
The game started in a light rain that grew heavier, especially in the bottom of the first inning. Sequatchie coach Kelly Somerville, DeKalb coach Danny Bond, the umpires and Sequatchie athletics director Chris Morrison agreed on the decision to suspend play.
"We hope that by 3 it gives us time to dry out," Morrison said of today's Central time resumption. "We're getting pushed with sectionals on Friday.
"There's not a backup plan -- just everybody being optimistic."
The Region 3-A title game between Whitwell and Arts & Sciences at Warner Park was also postponed by rain and is scheduled to be played today at 5 p.m.
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.