It was a day of bittersweet results for the Tellico Plains softball team.
The Lady Bears beat Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences 4-3 in walk-off fashion, but fell 8-0 to Sale Creek as well on Tuesday, May 7, finishing as runners-up in the District 4-A tournament.
“Very proud of these young ladies on their finish,” Tellico head coach Sharon McKinnon said. “We’re seeming to get back in stride what what we set out to accomplish this year after having battled back from several key injuries.
“This group of seniors have set great examples for the young players to follow and it’s helped us get back in stride.”
Tellico 4, CSAS 3
Perseverance paid off in Tellico’s first game of the evening.
Alayna Hensley scored Maddie Dodson with a sacrifice groundout and Ireland Whitmire ran home on an error in the bottom of the first inning, pushing Tellico ahead early, 2-0.
But the Lady Panthers took the lead during the top of the third with a three-run homer, forcing Tellico into comeback-mode.
The Lady Bears tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when Jocey Yates scored on an error, but didn’t score again until the final frame of the game. That’s when Whitmire hit a one-out single to center field, pushing across a Haley McGowan run and walking off the win over CSAS.
Kendra Watson pitched the entire game for the Lady Bears. She allowed eight hits, three runs and one walk while recording seven strikeouts.
Sale Creek 8, Tellico 0
The Lady Bears were shut out in their second game of the evening, solidifying their spot as tournament runners-up.
Sale Creek took a 2-0 lead with a run scored on an error and an RBI groundout during the second inning and extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth with runs off of a fielder’s choice and a passed ball.
As Tellico remained stagnant on offense, Sale Creek’s stayed in high gear, as the Lady Panthers produced three more runs during the fifth inning to take a 7-0 lead.
Sale Creek scored its final run with a sacrifice groundout in the bottom of the sixth.
Jones pitched five innings for the Lady Bears, giving up 13 hits and eight runs. Rhylea McJunkin took the circle for one inning, allowing one walk and striking out one batter.
Tellico may have a strong scouting report on at least one of the opponents it plays later on in the region tournament; McKinnon wouldn’t be surprised if the Lady Bears face Sale Creek again later in the postseason.
“Liking our chances of seeing Sale Creek in the region finals again,” McKinnon said. “We will probably face a tough Harriman team or Coalfield.
“But we will be ready for the challenge.”