MURFREESBORO — White House Heritage’s first-ever trip to the state tournament went almost as well as it could go.
The Lady Patriots came up one step short of winning the AA title on Friday, falling to Christian Academy of Knoxville, 4-0, in the championship game.
“This was the second-best thing that could have happened to us today,” said Heritage head coach Leslie Barrow with a wry smile. “I am really proud of the girls and what they did this week.”
The Lady Patriots (44-10), who have no seniors on the roster, took the long way to the championship game.
After suffering a loss to CAK on Wednesday, Heritage reeled off five straight wins — including a victory over CAK on Friday afternoon — to set up the winner-take-all matchup against the Lady Warriors roughly two hours later.
But the Lady Patriots were unable to replicate the magic in the finale, as CKA’s Allison Zimmerman tossed a four-hit shutout to guide the Lady Warriors to the championship. Zimmerman also led the CAK offense, going 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs for the Lady Warriors, who scored two runs in the first inning and two in the fifth.
The defeat, naturally, was emotional for Heritage. But the Lady Patriots said they fully expect to be back in Murfreesboro next spring, only with a different outcome on the final day.
“This just leaves us hungry for more,” said third baseman Megan Groves. “We were battling all the way through. It was a great feeling for us to be able to do what we did this week, especially with this being our first appearance at state.”
Addison Homes had a pair of hits, including a double, to lead Heritage’s offense. Ashton Kirkup and Samantha West added one hit each.
“There are some tears out here right now, but to me, that just shows how much we care,” said Barron. “And that’s a good sign. This week was a whirlwind, but we really showed some fight. It’s been a great week and great experience for the kids. It certainly makes us excited for next year.”
Alyssa Arden helped steer Heritage’s run to the championship game. The sophomore pitcher worked three games on Thursday and both games on Friday.
“We call her our show pony,” said Barrow, “because she is our horse, and we rode her all season. She did a great job.”
CAK 8, WH-Heritage 2: White House Heritage softball kept its season alive, defeating Christian Academy of Knoxville in the Class AA championship game to force a winner take all title game tonight at 6 p.m.
This was a rematch of Wednesday’s matchup with CAK winning 8-2. With the loss Heritage was forced to claw its way out of the loser’s bracket which hasn’t phased the Lady Patriots as they’ve won four in a row.
“We beat ourselves on Wednesday and dug a hole we couldn’t get out of,” Lady Patriots head coach Leslie Barrow said. “We wanted this game, the pressure is on them inthe second game…who knows.”
Alyssa Arden was solid in the circle for Heritage pitching a complete game, giving up one run and striking out five.
The Lady Patriots wasted little time getting on the board, scoring in the top of first off an Addison Holmes rbi single plating Arden.
CAK answered in the bottom of the inning when Hannah DeVault roped an RBI-single up the middle to tie the game at 1-1.
Heritage flashed the leather to escape any further damage with a triple play, as first baseman Lauren Osten caught the liner, tagged the bag and then fired to second for the third out to end the inning.
It remained tied until the top of the fifth when Heritage’s Samantha West came through with a two out RBI-single to left to plate Arden giving the Lady Patriots the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh Lady Patriots Megan Groves made two great defensive plays to seal the victory for Heritage. Groves started a 5-3 double play and then ended the game with an impressive diving catch in foul territory.
WH-Heritage 2, Waverly 1
MURFREESBORO – White House-Heritage punched its ticket to the Class AA softball finals with a 2-1 win over Waverly in the losers bracket finals Friday morning at Starplex.
The Lady Patriots will battle Christian Academy of Knoxville at 2:30 Friday at Starplex. If Heritage wins, another championship game will be played at 6.
All of the offense came late in Friday morning’s contest, as White House-Heritage scored solo runs in each the top of the sixth and seventh innings and survived a Waverly rally in the bottom of the seventh.
Sami West’s solo home run in the top of the seventh, which gave the Lady Patriots a 2-0 lead at the time, proved to be the difference. Alyssa Arden drove home a run with a double in the top of the sixth for the first run of the game by either team.
Arden scattered six hits, three walks and struck out four in earning the complete-game win.
Waverly pitcher Allie Brown allowed only two earned runs in seven innings, scattering six hits.
Waverly rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Cassie Tidwell singled with one out, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Emily Hooper’s two-out double to cut the deficit to one.
However, Arden recorded her fourth strikeout with the tying run in scoring position to finish the game and send her team to the championship game in Heritage’s first trip to Spring Fling.
CAK, which will have to be defeated twice, handed White House-Heritage its lone loss thus far in the state tournament.