There wasn’t a lot of suspense on Friday, May 14 regarding who would leave as the District 10-AAA softball champions.
Besides, the Springfield Lady Jackets would have needed to win back-to-back games in a doubleheader against the host Clarksville Lady Wildcats -- a team that came into the contest 38-1-1.
Still, both teams put up a strong fight and, though it was Clarksville who came out with a 10-5 victory and second consecutive district title, Springfield had plenty to smile about.
The two squads had met just two days prior when CHS won 9-2. Springfield led 2-1 in that game but never added on. That wasn’t the case Friday, when the Lady Jackets, who led 1-0 after one, went down 6-1 after four innings.
Instead, they battled back and scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, matching their adversaries in the two frames.
“Today was great,” said SHS head coach Daniel Owsley. “It’s like I told them. I said, ‘We’re going to come in here, and we’re going to have fun. We’re going to play our game and see what happens.’ They never gave up; they never quit. We made a few mistakes, but hey, that’s okay. We came back in, we battled, we started to chip away again. Kudos to our girls.”
But much like their previous three matchups -- and almost every other team who has faced CHS all year -- they couldn’t quite get enough offense to win.
Out-scoring the Lady Cats becomes even more difficult when their whole lineup is contributing as it did on Friday. They collected 17 hits and struck out just once, seeing nine different players reach base via a knock.
“You want everybody hitting, and I thought the bottom of our order hit well tonight,” said CHS head coach Brian Rush. “Katie (Adkins) got a hit, Kate (Cotton) had three RBIs. Skylar (Hayes)’s at-bats tonight were absolutely phenomenal. She was fouling off, fouling off, she got a double out there. She just was patient at the plate, smart at the plate.”
But just because the Lady Wildcats are now 38-1-1 doesn’t mean they’re banking on winning their first round region game on Monday. They entered that same scenario in 2019 with a 42-1 record, only to lose to District 9-AAA’s Wilson Central 7-1.
“We just need to keep playing like we are and keep playing like a team,” Weatherford said. “Don’t take it for granted because we were here my sophomore year, and we lost our first region game. We saw how quickly it can end with a couple bad innings.”
The main difference between the 2021 Wildcats and the 2019 Wildcats is senior leadership. The current group is led by eight seniors, all of whom are four-year players with the program.
Those eight seniors expect to be more comfortable on the big stage this time around.
Clarksville will host Beech for the first round of the Region 5-AAA tournament on Monday, May 17 while Springfield will travel to Station Camp the same night.