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Lady ‘Cats down Coalfield for first-ever region title, 8-0

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By Marty Maston

The Lady Jackets ran into a vicious Bobcat Wednesday and her name was Courtney Jones. 

The sophomore led the Lady Bobcats to their first region title in school history as Oliver Springs defeated Coalfield 8-0 behind a six-hit shutout from Jones. The Oliver Springs win also gave head coach Matt Headden his 200th career win.

The Lady Cats (26-4) wasted no time jumping on the Lady Jackets (24-11). 

Coalfield senior Hannah Melhorn, playing with flu like symptoms, did not last through the first inning. A leadoff walk to Emily Griffith got the Lady Bobcats first inning off and running. Jones and Kaylee Morgan each had RBI hits but the back-to-back walks that followed to Rachel Griffith and Raichel Snellings brought the pitching change. 

Lady Jacket sophomore Dakota Sise entered the circle and was greeted by a two-run single from Macy Martin to make the score 4-0 after one inning and that was plenty of run support for the talented Jones.

Neither team had any success at the plate in the next three innings. The only bright spot for Coalfield was a three-hit performance from eighth grader Megan Ratcliffe and a pair of hits from senior Samantha Hamby. 

Oliver Springs added a run in the fifth inning and applied the knockout punch with a three-run sixth inning. This gave the Lady Bobcats an impressive 8-0 victory. 

Rachel Griffith singled and scored the run in the fifth inning with a double from Snellings being the key hit. Hope Jenkins, Emily Griffith and Char-Lee Roberts all had singles to open the sixth inning and all would score with Roberts, Jones and Morgan picking up RBIs.

Jones threw a complete-game six-hit shutout and fanned seven Lady Jackets. Jones also had two hits and two RBIs. Morgan had a pair of hits including an RBI double for the Lady Cats. Rachel Griffith and Martin also had multiple hits for the Lady ‘Cats in the victory.

With the victory, Oliver Springs will host Cosby Friday evening at Arrowhead Park in the TSSAA Class A Sectional. The winner of Friday’s game advances to the TSSAA Class A State Tournament in Murfreesboro.

“Our girls are playing well at the right time. Hopefully we will get one more win and we will be playing this time next week. Our girls have stayed focused all year and I don’t expect the sectional to be any different,” Oliver Springs head coach Matt Headden said.

Hannah Melhorn only pitched 1/3 of an inning but took the loss on the hill. Megan Ratcliffe had three hits and senior Samantha Hamby added two hits for Coalfield. Dakota Sise had the other hit for the Lady Jackets, who only managed one scoring threat off Jones. 

 "They are playing so well right now and you just have to give them all the credit. We have to put this one behind us and get ready for the sectionals," Coalfield head coach Jen Laurendine said.