It was a long week of elimination softball, but the Creek Wood Lady Red Hawks punched their ticket to the Region Tournament by holding off Stewart County 3-1 on Friday night. Unfortunately for the Lady Red Hawks, they will travel for their Region game, as they could not hold off a Waverly rally and dropped a 2-1 decision on Saturday in the District 11-AA Championship game.
Bailey Griffith was sensational on the slab for Creek Wood on both days. She held the host Lady Rebels hitless through 4 innings, and her offense propped her up. Sam Morgan walked leading off the top of the second, and after a hit and another walk from Hayley Shepherd loaded the bases, Beckey Melton drew a walk to drive in Shannon White running for Morgan to make it 1-0. The Lady Red Hawks would add 2 more in the fourth, as Griffith helped her own cause with a lead-off single. An Annalee Coursey walk and a Braressa Deloach single would load the bases, and Melton would hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Griffith’s runner Ashlee Shockley to make it 2-0, with everyone safe on the play. Two batters later, Montana Thomas would ground out to second, scoring Coursey to make it 3-0.
Kaci Rowlett led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, then Saunders would double her home to make it 3-1. Stewart County was holding out hope for a comeback, as they had rallied for wins over Creek Wood twice this season when trailing 7-0 and 2-0, but it was not to be on Friday night. The tying run came to the plate three times in the fifth, but Griffith got the out, and the go-ahead run came up with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the sixth but popped out to end the inning. Griffith retired the Lady Rebels in order in the seventh, and Creek Wood held on for a 3-1 win that guaranteed them a spot in the Region regardless of what happened in the District Tournament Game the next day.
Griffith struck out 5 and walked 3, scattering 3 hits over 7 innings, allowing just the 1 run. Shepherd struck out 8 over 7 innings of play, walking 4 but allowing 7 hits. Melton went 0-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBI, Thomas 1-for-4 with an RBI, Morgan 2-for-3 with a walk, and Deloach 2-for-2 with a walk.
Saturday, the temperature was low and the wind was blowing in–perfect weather for a pitchers’ duel. Griffith threw a complete-game 2-hitter, but a sixth inning rally plus a 4-hit performance by the Waverly pitcher Alley Brown proved too much for Creek Wood to overcome.
Both sides went in order until Jordan Wertz doubled with two outs in the bottom of the second. Deloach answered back with two down in the top of the third, and Brown led off the bottom half and reached on an error. Thomas hit a one-out single in the top of the fourth, and after a Brett Jackson sacrifice, Morgan singled Thomas in for a 1-0 lead.
Griffith allowed a walk in the fourth and retired the side in the fifth, but Brown sat down the Lady Red Hawks in order in the fifth and worked around a leadoff single by Melton in the sixth. With just six outs to play with, the Tigerettes found a way to strike back. Sarah Smith drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the sixth, then Emily Hooper laid down a bunt and and reached on an error. Taylor Travis doubled to left to clear the bases and give Waverly Central the lead 2-1. A sacrifice got Travis to third, but another sacrifice bunt around the plate did not get her home. Wertz reached on a fielder’s choice to third that didn’t get Travis home, but also didn’t result in the third out. However, Griffith dug down and got a strikeout to leave 2 aboard, and keep it a 1 run game.
Griffith reached on an error with 2 down in the top of the 7th, but Brown got a strikeout to end the game, and give the Tigerettes the District Tournament Championship. Had the Lady Red Hawks come back for the win, they would have forced a winner take all game two for the title.
Travis and Wertz each went 1-for-3 for the only hits of the day off Griffith, and Travis had both RBIs. Morgan, Melton, and Thomas went 1-for-3 and Deloach 1-for-2, while Morgan had the only RBI driving in Thomas. Brown needed just 77 pitches to get through 7 complete innings, allowing an earned run on 4 hits, walking none and fanning 6. Griffith did one better, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits, walking 2 and striking out 5 in the loss. After the game, Melton, Jackson, and Thomas were named to the All-District Team.
With the loss, Creek Wood travels to Cascade on Monday to open the Region Tournament. With a win, the Lady Red Hawks would play in the Region Championship game and be guaranteed a spot in the Sectionals as well. The 6:30 game will air live on the RFC Sports Network.