Pope John Paul II made its second state softball tournament in school history and came into Friday’s Division II-AA championship one win away from its first title.
All the Lady Knights had to do was beat Baylor one time, something they did earlier this year 4-3. If they failed to do so in the first game, they would get a second shot in the tiebreaker.
However, the two-time defending champion Lady Red Raiders had other plans. Baylor won 10-1 and 17-1.
“Let’s not dwell on this game,” Pope John Paul II coach Jody Brothers said. “Let’s remember the season and the wonderful ride we had.”
This was the first time the Lady Knights (26-20) beat Chattanooga powers Girls Prep and Baylor in the same season. This is the first region championship team.
Brothers said he wasn’t expecting this team to make it this far this year. He thought the state tournament team would be next year.
“Next year we’re going to face them again and we’re going to beat them. It’s going to be different,” Lady Knights pitcher Chelsey Stephenson said.
Baylor’s Lauren Lewis broke state tournament records for RBIs in a game (8) and tournament (15). Michelle Plott of Ooltewah set the previous records of 6 and 12 in 1992.
Lewis was one of five players to break the record for homers in a tournament with three.
“We just approached it as we have to win to stay alive,” Baylor coach Kelli Smith said. “So we’re going to play that as our revenge game (over Pope John Paul II), and then the second game we’re playing for a state championship.”
Sarah Moore (17-1) pitched both games for the Lady Red Raiders and was the lone senior on the squad. Six underclassmen have already committed to play on NCAA Division I programs.