Blackman softball falls 8-1 to Ooltewah in sectional

Blackman’s Rachel Tarpley bobbles the ball as Ootlewah’s Sydney White runs in for the Lady Owls score. ETHAN SCOTT

Blackman's softball season came to screeching t halt Friday night as the Blaze fell 8-1 to the Ooltewah Lady Owls at home in the state sectionals.

“They just hit it and we didn’t,” Blackman coach Bob Fortel said. “There isn’t any secret sauce or magic beans. Sometimes it’s just not your night.”

The Lady Blaze put together a season to be proud of as Fortel, in his first year at Blackman, took a group that had never been out of the district tournament to the sectionals.

“We challenged them and they continued to rise,” Fortel said. “It’s been a process and that’s what it’s always been about. It’s about focusing and moving forward after every game. It should garner excitement in the younger players to see that this is what they can accomplish if they work hard and buy in to what we want to do.”

The Owls’ bats were alive from the word go, plating three runs in the first and another in the second, then two more in the fourth.

Ooltewah added a seventh run in the fifth before Blackman finally scored its’ lone run when Kalei Harding led off the bottom fifth with a triple and then scored on a base hit by Kendall Andrews.

Ooltewah had three five players with multiple hits and three with three, but the main Blaze killer was Kennesaw State commit Cheyenne Sales, who had two homeruns and four RBIs.

“They (the seniors) left a mark on this program for sure,” Harding said. “I couldn’t ask for any better crew than this set of seniors. They are great leaders on and off the field. Definitely someone to look up to. Next year we will just have to do the same with the four seniors we will have.”

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