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Lady Ads hot, win Region II Challenge


Passing out “high-fives” around the dugout for each player and assistant coach was the skipper himself, David Moore, after his Farragut softball team won the Region II Challenge April 29.

Such “high-five” enthusiasm was evident among the FHS seniors after the Lady Ads edged Heritage 1-0 in six-innings (time-shortened) at Karns High School for the championship at Saturday evening, winning the challenge against a 12–team field.

In addition to beating HHS for the second time in six days, Farragut entered the week having won 14 of its last 15 games (21-9-1 overall) while securing the No. 2 seed for the upcoming District 4-AAA tournament (12-2).

“We were kinda playing rough at the beginning, but we came together because we just decided as a senior class that we were, like, O-K, this is our last year, we’re going to do it right and it’s going to be awesome,” senior third-baseman Jessie Howard said. “So we just kinda all came together as a team and played well. Actually, we’re hitting a lot better this year. … We’re stringing hits together.”

A double by tourney MVP Cayla Smith, a sacrifice bunt by senior Haley Lewis, and a two-out wild pitch plated the championship game’s only run in the bottom of the second-inning.

Senior standout staff ace Margaret Morris, who struck out 10 Lady Mountaineers while allowing just four hits, said she’s improved as a pitcher since last season.

“I’m hitting my spots better than I have been, more consistently,” said Morris, who joined Smith and shortstop Sarah Young on the All-Region II Challenge team.

But she’s grateful for support. “I think a big part of it is the defense makes me look really, really good,” Morris said. “My supporting team, the defense, does like, take away hits from the opponent. I think that’s been very key to our success this year.”

Lewis added, “This year we’ve all come together, we support Margaret.”

Saying the strong bond of the seniors is helping lead the team, senior first-baseman Lauren Briody said, “We’ve been playing with each other forever,” pointing back to the days of the 10-year-old Knoxville Heat.

Remembering how most of the seniors played different positions back then, “I was a pitcher,” said Smith, a senior starting in left field.

The Lady Ads begin play in the district tournament at William Blount High School beginning at 8 p.m., Monday, May 8. If seeding holds true, the Lady Ads will face No. 3-seed and host WBHS.

In the Region II Challenge, Farragut bounced back after a 4-3 loss to Carter Friday at FHS’s Bellamy Field to beat Virginia High School of Bristol 6-0 Saturday morning, then blank Webb School 10-0 Saturday afternoon at Karns.

“Cayla Smith had a good tournament, good day, she went three-for-three in the Webb game [four RBIs], and had a home run in the Virginia High game,” Moore said. “And had a double tonight [versus Heritage], which was key. Margaret pitched well, Rachel [Ingleby] pitched well.”

Against Virginia, Morris and Kim Wright combined to toss a three-hit shutout.

In beating Webb, sophomore Rachel Ingleby allowed just two hits with four strikeouts while helping her own cause with two hits and an RBI.

The Lady Ads won a forfeit versus Notre Dame, then needed Virginia High to beat Alcoa to advance to the title game. Virginia won 5-4.

FHS 3 HERITAGE 0

While handing the Lady Mountaineers its first district loss, 3-0, at HHS Monday, April 24, Morris struck out 11 while allowing four hits. She helped her cause with two hits and an RBI.

Lewis also came through both in the field and at the plate. The senior smacked a solo home run, “and made a great diving catch that ended a potential rally for Heritage,” Moore said.

OTHER GAMES

Farragut beat Lenoir City 11-0 April 25 as Ingleby allowed just one hit with 10 strikeouts in five innings. Howard belted a triple with two RBIs, while Keri Meade scored two runs.

Offensive stars in the Lady Ads’ 5-2 win versus Maryville April 26 were Morris, with two hits and two RBIs, and Young, with a pair of hits and two runs scored.

 

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