Neither Siegel nor Coffee County faced elimination during Region 4-AAA softball championship Wednesday night.
But that didn’t keep either team from playing like it was its final game of the year.
In the end, it took international tiebreaker rules to settle the contest, as the Lady Stars outlasted the Lady Raiders 3-1 in 12 innings in a dramatic, back-and-forth game dominated by both pitchers.
The game-winning run didn’t come until the top of the 12th inning after Siegel’s Jenson McElroy started on second base via the international tiebreaker rules.
With one out, Siegel pitcher Veronica Westfall, who earned the complete-game victory inside the circle, laced a single to right field that scored McElroy for a 2-1 advantage, which proved to be the game-winning run.
The Lady Stars added an insurance run three batters later when Cede Loftis hit a line drive to right field that scored Cierra Purvis for a 3-1 lead.
Coffee County was unable to answer in the bottom half of the frame as Westfall recorded her season-high 18th and 19th strikeouts in bottom of the 12th to seal the victory in a game that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours.
It was Siegel’s third region championship in school history and first since 2009. The Lady Stars also won the region title in 2006.
The Lady Stars will host Walker Valley in the Class AAA sectionals. Coffee County will travel to Ooltewah in the sectionals. Both games will be played Friday.
Winners of each sectional game advance to next week’s Class AAA state tournament at the TSSAA’s Spring Fling.
Westfall allowed just three hits in the victory.
Siegel scored first in the top of the 10th inning when Jordee Cothran slide safely into home plate on a fielder’s choice by KaraLynne Levi.
The Lady Stars were unable to capitalize any further after loading the bases though, as Coffee County pitcher Brianna Jones, who finished with 15 strikeouts of her own, pitched out of the jam after allowing just the one run.
Coffee County managed to tie the game in the bottom half of the 10th on the first batter of the inning when Taylor Barnes hit a single to left field that scored Claire Spellings from second base.
Westfall, Purvis and Loftis each finished with two hits for Siegel.
Jones took the loss for Coffee County.
Siegel 3, Coffee County 1 (12 innings)
Siegel 000 000 000 102 – 3 7 3
Coffee Co. 000 000 000 100 – 1 3 5
Veronica Westfall and KaraLynn Levi. Brianna Jones and Tori Bell.
Contact Will Borthick at 615-278-5167. Follow him on Twitter @willborthick.