KINGSPORT — The last time Knox Halls tangled with Seymour, the Lady Devils didn’t have a lot to show for their efforts.
“We played them last week in a tournament and they beat us 7-0,” Halls coach Brian Gordon said. “We didn’t have a hit.”
On Sunday, a faster start led to a much different result in the championship game of the Eastman Invitational. Halls plated a run in the top of the first inning, followed it up with another in the top of the second and held on for a 4-2 win in the tournament championship.
“Great win for us,” Gordon said. “We’re starting to come together. This is really the first weekend we’ve played as a team, all together.
“It’s huge for us to get ahead and get a little momentum to get some confidence.”
Katie Corum got the Lady Devils off on the right foot by smacking an RBI single in the first. Lexie Helm followed that up with a solo homer to the opposite field in the top of the second to put Halls up 2-0.
Lauren Irwin evened things up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the third, but Halls manufactured two more runs late on a groundout and a sacrifice fly to win the title.
Sunday also proved to be a productive day for a pair of local teams.
Defending champion Daniel Boone wrapped up third place with an impressive 5-3 win over Maryville and Volunteer picked up a 4-1 victory over Union County before dropping a 5-2 decision to Macon East Academy out of Alabama in the fifth-place game.
The Lady Trailblazers graduated plenty of big names off of the team that won the tournament last year, but they provided more evidence that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Freshman pitcher Jaclyn Jenkins picked up the win against the Lady Rebels in the third-place game. Not only did she throw a good game, she also hit the grand slam that proved to be the difference in the contest.
“She’s going to be something else. She really is,” Boone coach Rick Wagner said. “And at the plate, she just finds a way to put it into play.”
Jenkins did more than put the ball in play when she came up to the plate in the top of the third. With her team trailing 1-0, she hit a shot to the opposite field to put her team up 4-1.
“What amazes me is the way she can go opposite,” Wagner said. “She’s got two or three home runs to the opposite field this year and you just don’t see a whole lot of people who can do that with power.
“I’m just glad she’s on our team.”
McKenzi Ferguson added a solo homer in the fourth to provide some insurance.
After losing a close decision against Boone in the first game of the day, Volunteer got a win against Union County and led Macon East 2-0 for much of the fifth-place game before the team from Alabama came roaring back.
“I think fatigue got us a little in this game,” Volunteer coach Jackie Strickler said. “It’s just one of them things. I couldn’t be prouder of these girls.”
Strickler said the win against Union County will give his team something to build on as the season progresses.
“Morgan (Marshall) threw well and Alex Williams leads off there with a home run,” he said. “It just kind of set the tone.”