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Lady Pioneers outlast Cherokee for District 1-AAA softball title

Gene Renfro • May 10, 2018 at 12:43 AM

JOHNSON CITY — The David Crockett softball program did something that hadn’t been done in at least 20 years Wednesday: The Lady Pioneers captured the District 1-AAA softball championship with a 4-0 win in the if-necessary game over upset-minded Cherokee.

Cherokee forced the second game at Metro-Kiwanis Park with a 3-2 triumph that needed eight innings.

“Very big win for our program,” said David Crockett head coach Carla Weems. “These girls have worked hard all year and they’re relentless. They never give up, they keep fighting back and I’m very proud of them.”

With the win, David Crockett will host a Region 1-AAA semifinal on Monday. The Lady Pioneers face Morristown East in a repeat of a 2017 Region 1-AAA semifinal, which East won 2-0.

Cherokee must travel to Jefferson County to open regional play, with the two winners meeting Wednesday. The Lady Pioneers own a 33-10-1 mark going to the next level, while Cherokee stands at 16-16-1.

The second contest saw Big 7 Conference pitcher of the year and tournament most valuable player Kara Weems help herself out. She had a two-out double to right in the second inning that sent Lenzie Jenkins home. Jenkins reached with a double that fell on the foul line in left field.

An inning later, the Lady Pioneers got an additional run, but missed a second. Reagan Miller belted a home run over the fence in left center. Mackenzie Baldwin had reached base in front of her with a sharp single to shortstop.

After Baldwin rounded the bases, umpires ruled she missed home to record the final out of the inning. However, the umpires ruled Miller’s run counted — giving Crockett a 2-0 edge.

Weems, who hurled a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts, worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fifth. The Lady Pioneers then turned around and tacked on a pair of insurance scores as Riley Hope sent a two-run double to center.

Weems tossed all 15 innings on Wednesday to earn the MVP honor. She yielded the two earned runs and struck out more than 20 Lady Chiefs over the course of the two games.

The opening contest had Cherokee take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Faith Webb produced a sacrifice fly. Grace Jones scored after reaching on an error.

Two innings later, the Lady Chiefs struck again with an RBI single from Audrey Mowell.

David Crockett tied things in the bottom of the sixth as Miller landed a bloop single to left field and Baldwin scored. Alyssa Suits added an RBI on her sacrifice fly to score Riley Hope, forcing the extra inning.

Cherokee saw Webb do it again with a two-out RBI single, allowing Jones to break the tie. Jones, who accounted for all three of her team’s runs, led the inning off with a double.

“They came out a little bit flat today,” Carla Weems said about her players in the first game. “It was a very good game. We regrouped in between games.”

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