CCS Advances To State Softball With Sweep

Lady Chargers Beat Donelson Christian Twice For First-Ever D-II State Tournament Berth

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - by John Hunt
CCS junior Madison Hollis delivers a pitch Tuesday night in their win over DCA.
CCS junior Madison Hollis delivers a pitch Tuesday night in their win over DCA.
- photo by Greg Davick

The Chattanooga Christian softball team has won a bunch of big games this spring and they’ve beaten some really good teams in the process.

They’ve knocked off Silverdale, top-ranked King’s Academy, defending state champ Meigs County, Red Bank and Ooltewah among others this spring, but none of those wins were any bigger or more special than the last two at home Tuesday night against the Donelson Christian Academy Lady Wildcats.

Playing a best-of-three series in the quarterfinal round of the TSSAA D-II-A state tournament, the Lady Chargers won both games and have qualified for next week’s Spring Fling action for the first time in school history as a D-II team.

Tuesday’s play was delayed about an hour by rain and the Lady Chargers were a little slow out of the gate in the first game, but they played really good softball – except for the first inning of the first game when they made three errors – to advance with wins of 5-3 and 8-3.

Junior Madison Hollis was the winning pitcher in both games while another junior by the name of Alex Behnke was the loser both times for the Lady Wildcats.

Hollis has never been an overpowering pitcher and she wasn’t on Tuesday, but she made some really good pitches at extremely critical times when DCA was on the verge of regaining the advantage.

She allowed seven hits in both games.  She had four strikeouts in the first game and nine more in the second.  The only walk she allowed came with one out in the seventh inning of the second game.

She was also a major contributor at the plate with two hits in the first game and two more in the second.  Her double in the third inning of the first game plated the first run for CCS as they scored all five of their runs in that inning.

Then in the second game, she had an RBI-single in the fifth to give her team a 4-1 lead before ripping a two-run homer in the seventh to extend a 4-3 lead.

She was shedding tears of joy after the final out had been recorded and her team had qualified for the biggest tournament of the season.

“I’m just so happy right now,” she said while wiping a tear from her cheek.

“We knew we had to score some runs there at the end of the second game and I just love inside pitches.  That’s what I got and it was a huge hit for me.  We had sort of a rough start, but I was totally confident in my own ability and also that of my team.  It was an entire team effort tonight,” the 16-year-old junior added.

While her home run gave the Lady Chargers a little breathing room, freshman Lauren Kay followed three batters later with a two-run homer of her own.  She also had a run-scoring single in the first inning of the second game to put her team ahead 3-0 before the Lady Wildcats ever came to bat.

“I’ve been struggling at the plate lately, but I just told myself that I was going to swing as hard as I could.  I got a good pitch and hit it well, but we are so close as a team and we’ve come so far this season.  It feels so good to win both of these games,” the 15-year-old freshman expressed.

Older sister Rachel Kay was another hero for the Lady Chargers as she had a two-run double in that five-run third in the first game before ripping another two-run double in the first inning of the second game that got her team off and running.

She’s another player who was simply overflowing with joy when the action had ended.

“We’re making history and it’s really something special to be a part of.  I’m seeing the ball well right now, but we’re final four bound and I’m just thrilled,” the 17-year-old junior nodded.

CCS coach Lisa Gray was grinning from ear to ear, even after getting doused by a cooler full of ice water.

“I’m so proud of these girls.  This was one of our goals three years ago and we haven’t stopped yet.  These girls are a bunch of fighters and they just weren’t going to lose tonight.  It was all heart from them.

“We were in a really tight game there at the end and I told them we needed to get some insurance runs.  We were able to get four and that was enough,” Gray said after her team had improved to 22-12 with its fifth straight win.

Donelson Christian ends an outstanding season at 19-11, but coach Brent Dorris kept emphasizing to his girls the fact they had a really good year.

“I just told them to keep their heads up.  We gave our best effort in both games and have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  We played pretty clean softball tonight, but Chattanooga Christian was just the better team today.

“They had a bunch of timely hits and we didn’t, although we had plenty of chances,” he added.

DCA had their best at-bat in the sixth inning of the second game.

Trailing 4-1 at the start, the Lady Wildcats got consecutive singles from Behnke, Alexis Wheeler and Kersee Worden before a double from Sam Zapton drove in the second run with only one out.

Hollis then recorded her ninth strikeout for the second out before ending the threat on an innocent grounder to first as her team was still ahead 4-3 at that point.

She finished the first game on a high note by retiring 11 of the final 12 batters she faced and she retired the first nine of the second game before Jaylee Lopez led off the fourth with a double.

Hollis and Rachel Kay had two hits for CCS in the first game while Lauren Kay had three hits and Hollis two more in the second game.

Sarah Logsdon and Worden had two hits for DCA in the first game while Wheeler was the only Lady Wildcat with two hits in the second.

FIRST GAME

DONELSON CHRISTIAN  300 000 0 – 3 7 1

CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN  005 000 x – 5 8 3

Behnke and Wheeler; Hollis and M. Blevins.

SECOND GAME

CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN  300 010 4 – 8 9 0

DONELSON CHRISTIAN  000 102 0 – 3 7 2

Hollis and M. Blevins; Behnke and Wheeler.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL   THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 Central vs. Walker Valley at Finley Stadium Baylor vs. Notre Dame at Finley Stadium   FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 Boyd-Buchanan at Whitwell Bradley at Farragut Brainerd at Howard McCallie at Chattanooga Christian Rhea Co. at Cleveland Copper Basin at Polk Co. Signal Mountain at ... (click for more)

Erlanger Sports Medicine Chattanooga Kickoff Classic Thursday at Finley

The 2018 high school football season will open at Finley Stadium with the Erlanger Sports Medicine Chattanooga Kickoff Classic.  The two game event will take place on Thursday, August 16th and will feature four Chattanooga area high school teams.  Walker Valley will play Chattanooga Central at 6:00PM and Baylor will face off with Notre Dame at 8:30PM in the week one ... (click for more)

City To Offer King Street Lot For Public Parking On Nights, Weekends; Special Lunch Parking Rate Set For River Pier Garage

City officials said they plan to offer a parking lot on King Street used by city employees to the public for parking on nights and weekends. Cherita Allen, deputy economic development director, said it will be managed by Republic Parking. The city is having to spend money on the lot because water runs off it to an adjacent building being developed by Hiren Desai. Ms. Allen ... (click for more)

Hearing Delay On Suit Brought By State Democrats To Keep Robin Smith Off Ballot

A hearing has been delayed on a lawsuit brought by the Tennessee Democratic Party seeking to keep Republican Robin Smith off the ballot in House District 26. Ms. Smith was the only candidate after longtime Rep. Gerald McCormick abruptly announced he was leaving his post to move to Nashville. Chancellor Jeff Atherton on Monday afternoon said he could not take the case until ... (click for more)

Make One Of The Proposed Surplus City Buildings Into A Local History Museum - And Response

The city of Chattanooga currently has no history center or museum. That is because several years ago it was conveyed to the public, in the blinking of an eye, that $9 million that had been raised mysteriously vanished for reasons unexplainable to this date. In the meantime, valuable artifacts and collections are sitting in cellars, basements and storage facilities instead of being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No Cell Phones Allowed

There was a time, not so long ago, when school-aged children would learn lessons from a prescribed text, such as a textbook. Today texting is far, far different and, as any of our teachers will tell us, cell phones have become the scourge of education. In almost every classroom, kids will silently text in the shadow of the desk in front of them rather than focus on the lesson. Yet ... (click for more)