The WCHS Lady Pioneers dominated most of the district teams they played during the regular season with the exception of White County. Warren County and White Count split their regular season series, and had identical 7-1 district records entering the district tournament.
It was unfortunate Warren County had to make the long trip to Rhea County three days in a row, only to face White County on the third day after losing to Rhea County.
A 7-5 loss Thursday night in the district tournament to White County ended the Lady Pioneers season. Rhea County then beat White County to go undefeated in the district tournament and win the championship.
As WCHS head coach Gooby Martin said, the Lady Pioneers had a good season. There were some exciting games during the season, and the Lady Pioneers were an intelligent team that played with toughness. The seniors will be missed, and they all made contributions.
It was a season coach Martin entered with some uncertainty because there was no season last spring because of COVID-19. Girls who had not had varsity experience responded well. The team was well-coached, and they have regular season co-champs on their resume.
The district tournament was a stark contrast to the regular season which will leave some mixed feelings for the players. The Lady Pioneers saw some of their competition improve during the tournament, which may be unsettling. Yet, the Lady Pioneers played well and they simply could not get the hits and breaks they needed to win the tournament.
There are plenty of good memories from the season. One question for the future is whether head coach Gooby Martin will return to coach the team.
Martin said, “I thought we had a good season. Surely it didn’t end the way we wanted it to end. We had a lot of new girls, new faces. We had a year off. I thought we played well during the season. We didn’t peak at the right time. To advance, you have to get hot at tournament time, and we just didn’t do it at this time this year. Rhea County is a good team. They are a senior-heavy team, and they had some injuries early. I have a month or two to think about coming back next year. I don’t know yet.”
LADY PIONEER HITTERS
Rhealee Johnson 3, Aleya Esparza 2, Shelby Roberts 1, Elia Atterson 1, Madison Hollis 1, Cadi Todd 1 and Taylor Swann 1. Producing RBIs were Aleya Esparza 3 and Rhealee Johnson 1.
LADY PIONEER PITCHERS
Madison Hollis started her third game in three days and pitched 4 innings with 4 strikeouts and gave up 5 hits and 3 earned runs. Sadie Simmons relived Hollis and pitched 3 innings with 6 strikeouts and gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run.
The Lady Pioneers finish the season with a 16-7 record.