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Lady Pioneers win tournament, will host region game
WCHS softball - Jessie Young.jpg
Jessie Young slides back into first and was called safe. Young also dodged a close tag running to second to be safe once again, helping the Lady Pioneers get the upper hand over Coffee County.
WCHS softball - team.jpg
Pictured is the WCHS softball team after beating Coffee County for the district championship. Pictured, front row, from left, are Marli McBride, Madison Hollis, Aleya Esparza and Shelby Roberts. Second row, Jessie Young, Callie Roberts, Jazzlyn Ward, Dallis Melton, Lily Rains, Kora Forbes, Alyssa Mosley, and Piper Lanning. Back row, coaches Morgan Frye, Gooby Martin, and Cody Crouch, Addison Smith, Maggy Whiles, Annabelle Reinitz, Brooke Wilson, and Ky Damon. McBride, Hollis, Esparza, Shelby Roberts and Mosley were named all-district, and Shelby Roberts was recognized as the Offensive Player of the Year.

The Lady Pioneers delivered some clutch hits in the sixth inning to bring the district tournament championship home against Coffee County, 4-3, on Wednesday.

Warren County had to overcome an early 3-0 hole to battle back and claim the title.

“They jumped on us early, but our girls are resilient and they got some big hits in the sixth inning,” said WCHS coach Gooby Martin. “This is a great group of girls. They play hard and they play for each other and they are a great group to be around. We had a bad first inning, but we were able to block that out and play with more consistency the rest of the game.”

Coffee County scored all 3 of its runs in the first inning, capitalizing on three Lady Pioneer infield errors. Madison Hollis went the distance in the circle for Warren County.

Warren County scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the sixth. Callie Roberts and Shelby Roberts both produced at the plate, both hitting doubles to score the first and last run, respectively. 

Callie led the team going 2 for 3 at the plate with 2 RBIs. 

Left fielder Marli McBride was on fire in the outfield catching four fly outs, including two in the third inning. The infield also had some impressive catches with shortstop Alyssa Mosley with three line outs and Madison Hollis diving for a pop up close to the plate. 

By the time the sixth inning rolled around, the Lady Pioneers were down 3-0 and were in need of a rally. Aleya Esparza and Mosley both walked at the start of the sixth when Callie stepped to the plate. She nailed a line drive to centerfield to bring both runners home, putting WC back in the game.

Two outs followed for WC as fly balls were common in this game, but freshman Addison Smith singled on a hard ground ball to bring designated runner Maggy Whiles home, tying the game. Ky Damon took Smith’s spot at first, but she didn’t stay there long.

Damon successfully stole second and was hit home by a double from Shelby, where Damon impressively slid into home dodging the tag from the catcher. WC now led 4-3 going into the seventh which was a nerve-racking inning.

To start, a Coffee County hitter launched a ball over the fence where it was scarily close to being a homerun, but the hit was ultimately a foul ball. That hitter then gave Mosley her third lineout of the game. Mosley thought she made the winning play after this with an out at first, and the team flooded the field in celebration.

However, the umpire interrupted and called the runner safe, saying Kora Forbes stepped off the bag meaning one more out was needed. Luckily third baseman Jessie Young made the actual final play with a pop out, giving the Lady Pioneers the title.

WC will now host Rhea County on Monday for the first round of the region tournament. Rhea County defeated Warren County last year in the district tournament when the two were in the same district.

A win would advance the Lady Pioneers to the region championship game to be played Wednesday against the winner of the Coffee County/ Walker Valley game.

Warren County softball won the region championship in 2019.