Morristown West's Whitehead no-hits Volunteer

Dave Ongie • May 17, 2007 at 12:39 PM

MORRISTOWN - A season to remember will continue for Volunteer, but Wednesday night's Region 1-AAA softball championship is a game the Lady Falcons would just as soon forget.

Morristown West got a no-hitter from pitcher Ashley Whitehead and knocked the cover off the ball, earning a 10-0 win in five innings at J.C. Wild Softball Park.

"We just have to forget about it," Volunteer coach Jackie Strickler said of the loss. "There are a lot of teams sitting at home wishing they were where we are right now."

Despite the lopsided loss, the Lady Falcons are still one only 16 teams left standing in Class AAA and will need to regroup in time for their sectional matchup Friday.

Volunteer will travel to Knox Powell, which beat Knox Central 1-0 on Wednesday in the Region 2-AAA title game.

With a state tournament berth hanging in the balance, Strickler said his players need to pack their gloves before the trip to Knoxville and put them to better use than they did Wednesday against the Lady Trojans.

The Lady Falcons committed four errors and the shaky night in the field led to their worst loss so far in the postseason.

"We're going to have to load up and head to Knoxville," Strickler said.

"I hope we can go down there, play good defense, put the ball in play and see what happens," he added.

Pitcher Paige Copas was the bright spot for Volunteer (21-18), recording seven strikeouts and reaching an impressive milestone in the process.

Copas struck out Brittany Dixon in the bottom of the first, giving her 171 strikeouts for the season. The strikeout broke the school's single-season record previously held by Amanda Odom.

Copas was also Volunteer's only baserunner of the game, reaching base after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.

West, meanwhile, had no trouble stringing hits together and lit up the scoreboard as a result.

"We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them," Strickler said. "But they put so much pressure on you because they're so quick. They're the best team we've faced all year."

The Lady Trojans were patient at the plate, slapping off-speed pitches to the opposite field and pulling fastballs into the gaps.

West piled up 12 hits and ran the bases with plenty of aggressiveness.

"We were kind of prepared from last year," West coach Heather Sents said. "When we made it last year, we were just happy to be there."

Brittany Hefner led the hit parade for West (28-6), going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored to go along with a pair of RBIs.

Kaela Jackson and Brittany Ogle also had two RBIs each while Dixon, Alex Wild and Susie Johnson all scored twice.

Whitehead (28-5) struck out eight batters and faced only 16 hitters in her five innings of work.

Copas (21-10) gave up 12 hits, but only four of the runs she surrendered were earned.

Morristown West will host Knox Central at 6 p.m. on Friday while Volunteer will play on the road against Knox Powell at the same time.

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