Middle School Softball: Chattanooga Valley earns spot in semifinals
Three-fourths of the North Georgia Athletic Conference softball tournament participants are now set.
Fourth-seeded Chattanooga Valley punched its ticket to the Final Four after hanging on for a 7-5 win over fifth-seeded Ringgold Tuesday evening in a game played at Ridgeland High School.
The Lady Eagles will head to Chickamauga on Thursday to face top-seeded Gordon Lee, while second-seeded Trion will await the winner of the Heritage-Dade County match. That game will be played in Trenton on Wednesday after Tuesday’s game had to be postponed due to unplayable field conditions.
Zoey DeFoor scored on a CVMS error in the top of the first inning to give the Lady Tigers an early 1-0 lead, but the Lady Eagles would answer with two runs in the home half of the first to gain a lead they would never relinquish.
Jenna Morgan led off with a single on a swinging bunt and stole second base before Maggie Dickson hit a grounder toward second to move Morgan to third. Morgan made a wide turn at third, prompting a throw, but the ball sailed wide of the bag, allowing Morgan to scamper home with the tying run.
Two batters and two pitches later, Cordasia Watkins untied the score by launching a solo homer over the fence in right-centerfield.
Chattanooga Valley would do most of its damage an inning later with a five-spot as they forged a 7-1 lead.
After two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, Morgan smacked a triple off the base of the fence in left, plating all three runs. A bunt by Dickson would score Morgan with the Lady Eagles’ sixth run and Watkins would blast another solo homer to nearly the exact same spot over the fence in right-center for what became the final run of the game for CVMS.
Ringgold would get a run back in the top of the third as they loaded the bases with one out. Taylor Layne came in on a delayed steal of home with Ringgold’s second run, but pitcher Madison Bowman got a flyball to shallow centerfield and nice play by third baseman Carlin Scott on a short hop for a 5-3 putout to end the inning without further damage.
After leaving two runners on base in the top of the sixth, Ringgold made things very interesting in the top of the seventh.
DeFoor and Layne reached on back-to-back bunt singles before Baileigh Pitts drove in DeFoor with an RBI-single, taking second base on a throw to third. Autumn Green followed up with an RBI on a sacrifice fly as Pitts moved to third and an RBI-triple by Ava Raby brought in Green to make it a two-run game.
But a flyball to centerfield would be caught for out two and a throw to third base would double up the runner, who was unable to get back after leaving the bag too early, ending the game.
Bowman allowed seven hits in seven innings of work in the circle as she finished with eight strikeouts in the win. Layne pitched six innings in defeat. She allowed just four hits, none after the second inning, and did not strikeout a batter.
Thursday’s game at Gordon Lee will begin at 5 p.m.