BRISTOL, Tenn. — Volunteer was eliminated from the District-1 AAA softball tournament Tuesday. But the Lady Falcons did not go quietly.
A three-run homer by Volunteer’s Alex Williams in the top of the seventh inning kept the pressure on Dobyns-Bennett, which ultimately held on for the 6-5 win.
“These kids have battled back all year. That’s a good indication of who they are,” said Lady Falcons coach Jackie Strickler, whose team ended the year at 22-15 overall. “These kids don’t know what the word ‘quit’ means.”
Williams, a junior, went 3-for-4 in the ninth spot, including a solo shot in the second inning. She plated Cynthia Henley and Danielle Saltz — on with a walk and a single, respectively — with her long ball in the final frame.
D-B pitcher Brianna Patterson (8-8) exchanged several dry balls with the dugout during the course of the last inning. Grip and footing clearly were becoming issues for Patterson and her teammates.
Lady Falcons leadoff batter Katie McCann exploited the moment. She stroked a single to right and scrambled to third when the ball squirted past right fielder Cydnee Morrisette.
Undaunted by the tying run on the corner, Patterson coaxed Kenzie Dixon to ground it to Makaylah Darnell. The D-B shortstop gloved the hard-hit ball, carefully set her feet and made the put-out throw to first to erase the threat.
“Dealing with the water ... it was really a struggle throughout the game. Especially the first inning and the last inning,” said Patterson, who struck out nine.
Both D-B and Volunteer pleaded for a postponement after the game was halted by a 26-minute rain delay after the first. The game proceeded despite the vacillating rainfall, which transformed into a virtual downpour by the final frame.
By the last out, it was unquestionably too wet to play the nightcap. The winners bracket game between Science Hill and Daniel Boone was rescheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The Lady Indians (24-16) will face the loser of the opener at 7 p.m. Thursday in an elimination game.
The weather obviously affected play for both D-B and Volunteer. Patterson walked eight and the Lady Falcons’ Morgan Marshall (13-8) walked nine. Precipitation likely played a significant role in the teams’ combined five errors.
“The first inning was a walk-fest. They couldn’t get their foot planted. It was just really tough to play in these conditions,” said D-B coach Andy Hubbard, whose team parlayed five walks and an error into a 3-1 lead in the first inning and was up 6-2 headed into the seventh.
Madi Kilby went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for the Lady Indians. Abby Stratton was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
“I’m just happy to be alive. My girls have played so hard during this tournament,” Hubbard said. “They’re relaxed, they’re young and they’re playing hard.”