By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
April 9, 2014 — The East Carter softball team headed to the Volunteer State to take part in the “Play it Again” Classic in Clarkesville, Tenn. The Lady Raiders finished second out of 42 teams, going 5-1 over the weekend.
“We played very well against a lot of good competition,” Coach Derek Calhoun said. “We beat a couple of teams in the top ten in Tennessee. We had a lot of good hits and outstanding pitching by Montana (Fouts) and Morgan (Jacobs). I’m very proud of my girls.”
In game one, East defeated Tennessee Class 2A No. 3 Henry County, Tenn. 4-1. Fouts pitched five innings, giving up only one hit and striking out ten. Whitney Hall went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Laura Green and Jordyn Wiler each went 1-for-2. Green had two RBI in the win.
Game two saw East defeat Bracken County 3-2. Jacobs had nine strikeouts and two hits in six innings. Lesleigh Sexton hit a homerun and Kayla Hall smacked a two-run shot out of the park. Whitney Hall also went 2-for-3 in the win.
East would win its third straight game in the tournament, defeating Donelson Christian Academy 6-0. Fouts followed up her game one performance with a three-hitter and striking out 11. Whitney Hall hit another homerun and Eden Mayo hit her first homerun, a two-run shot. Alexis Pennington was 2-for-3 in the win.
With wins over West Jessamine (4-1) and Ezel, Tn. (3-2), East Carter found themselves in the Championship against Clarkesville Northeast, Tn. The Lady Raiders would commit three errors and leave 11 runners on base as they fell in the title game 4-2. Fouts would hit a homerun of her own while Mayo went 1-for-3 with a double and Gracie Robinson was 2-for-2 in the final game.
“We got good defense and outstanding pitching,” Calhoun said. “We stressed to our girls that are bats needed to get hot if we were going to have a chance in this tournament. We hit five homeruns and we swung the bat really well so that’s a good sign.”
But that was not the most impressive thing to Calhoun.
“Out of all of the pitching we’ve faced, we only struck out eight times in six games,” Calhoun said. “We were putting the ball in play. We are still hitting the ball right at people at times, but eventually someone going to make mistakes.”
East has several young players starting varsity, with three eighth graders and a freshman on the field. So for a young team to play that well against some of the best competition in both states has Calhoun and the rest of the Lady Raiders excited for the second half of the season.
“We were young last year and we are again this year,” Calhoun said. “But they are playing very well above their ability level. Our eighth graders are playing sophomores and juniors. We’ve got a good bench behind them that can play the field and can hit.”
Calhoun said the tournament helped East learn their identity.
“We can change our lineup both offensively and defensively and get things to work for us,” Calhoun said. “We saw six good pitchers in six games that threw a variety of pitches. Our girls are excited to get back here and show what they learned against the rest of the region.”
East will finally return home for a contest against Lewis County Wednesday to open a seven-game home stand.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.