Siegel softball, winners of two of three on Friday, concluded their 2019 campaign in the TSSAA State Tournament Championship.
Unfortunately for the Lady Stars, they fell in the most important game of the three — a 3-0 decision to Jefferson County in the title game.
“We came out to play in the early games today but just got outplayed in the last one,” Siegel head coach Shawn Middleton said. “We played solid defense all day and got big hits when we needed them early, but the long day just wore on us.”
Jefferson County’s first inning made all the difference, tallying two runs before the first out was recorded on Santanna Hall’s RBI single. The Lady Patriots tallied an insurance run in the seventh to walk away with the 3-0 win.
Siegel sought early opportunities with five runners left on base in the first three frames but lacked the big hit to even the score. Jefferson County’s Catelyn Riley scattered just one Siegel hit over the last four innings to take the title.
Not enough can be said for the effort in the circle by junior Sophie Golliver. She scattered just six runs through the six-game tournament, four allowed to the eventual state champions Jefferson County.
The Lady Stars needed to win Friday morning’s elimination game against Knoxville Halls to advance to the state title game. Hannah Milhorn’s 2-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI game was all the bat needed to back up Golliver in a 2-1 ball game.
“As our catcher, you call on (Milhorn) to play big innings and she played her heart for her team today. She played three games in the heat and gave her all every pitch, Middleton said.”
Following Thursday’s 1-0 decision to Jefferson County, the Lady Stars required two wins against the Patriots to be crowned state champions. Siegel answered the call in game one with a 10-1 whipping. Six Lady Stars contributed multi-hit performances in the contest.
Golliver, Vanessa Westfall, Olivia McElroy and Reagan Duran tallied two hits apiece. Golliver added a two RBI double in the first inning. Presley Leebrick and Caitlyn McCrary added three hits apiece with McCrary providing fireworks with two home runs, a double and three RBI.
“(Leebrick) provides so much energy from the leadoff and sets up Vanessa (Westfall) to be a situational hitter and move her around or come through with big hits,” adds Middleton.
“I cannot say enough great things about Caitlyn (McCrary). She is a great leader and Tennessee is getting a good one.” Middleton said of the UT-Knoxville signee.
The Siegel softball team bids farewell to six seniors that will be a part of the winningest four-year group in program history — 141 total wins, two regular season District 7AAA Championships (2016, 2018), three District 7AAA tournament championships (2016, 2018, 2019), one Region 4AAA Tournament Championship (2016), two Sectional Championships (2016, 2019) and two State Tournament Runner-Up finishes (2016, 2019).
“When these seniors were sophomores, a lot doubted where the program was headed but they have set the bar high and proved that we belong in big games. To get the young girls out here and future players in the stands to experience (the state championship) is something I hope they believe we can achieve again.”