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By GOOSE LINDSAY
The Midway Lady Green Waves know that you have to face stiff competition if you want to get better.
Monday and Tuesday, the Lady Waves continued their tough early schedule by splitting a pair of games against Class AAA foe McMinn County and Class AA opponent Loudon. On Monday, the Lady Waves dropped a 5-3 decision against McMinn County, but they bounced back Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over the Lady Redskins.
“You can find out where you’re at when you play bigger and better teams,” Lady Wave co-head coach Craig Hutchinson said. “I think it gives us confidence when we play them tough whether we win or lose. We played well against McMinn County last night and we played well again tonight.”
Midway vs. McMinn County
One bad inning was all that kept the Lady Waves from knocking off the Lady Cherokees.
Midway held a 2-1 lead after four innings, but the Lady Waves had a defensive meltdown in the bottom of the fifth inning as McMinn County scored four runs to take a 5-2 lead.
Midway would score one run in the top of the seventh inning, but the Lady Waves couldn’t put together enough of a rally to pick up the win.
Midway trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the fourth inning, but Michelle Walden and Haley Parks reached safely to start the inning then both scored on a one-out single from freshman Taylor Narramore.
Midway’s final run came in the seventh inning when Kati Alexander drove in Lacey Davidson with a two-out single. Davidson had singled earlier in the inning.
Hannah Colyer pitched a complete-game for the Lady Waves, allowing three hits and two walks while recording nine strikeouts.
Only two of McMinn County’s five runs were earned.
Midway vs. Loudon
Runs were hard to come by Tuesday as the Lady Waves and Lady Redskins combined for just seven hits on the evening.
In the end, however, Midway took full advantage of their limited opportunities as they pulled out the 3-2 victory.
“We fought hard and played our kind of ball tonight,” Hutchinson said. “Our pitching was good, our defense was solid and we finally started hitting the ball toward the end.”
Neither time was hitting the ball early on as the first 15 batters that stepped to the plate were retired in order.
Midway finally broke through in the bottom of the third inning.
Freshmen Paige Moree and Taylor Narramore got things going with back-to-back singles to open the inning then Lacey Davidson drove in Moree with an RBI grounder.
Loudon, however, took the lead in the top of the fourth inning with a pair of unearned runs.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Midway had two throwaway balls at third on the same play that allowed both Lady Redskins to score and take a 2-1 lead.
That lead stood until the sixth inning when Brianna Reynolds and Alex Coffman opened the in-ning with back-to-back singles. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch then Reynolds, who was starting in place of Krystal Rue, made a great play running the bases that set the stage for a big inning.
Davidson hit a sharp grounder to short and Reynolds broke for home, but the throw home would have gunned her down. Instead of making the out, Reynolds made her way back to third as the bases were loaded with no outs for Hannah Colyer. Colyer responded with a two-run single that proved to be the game-winner.
“That was huge,” Lady Wave co-head coach Robbie Viar said of Reynolds not getting thrown out at home just before Colyer’s single. “I think it gave everybody confidence when she delivered like that. Brianna’s one of those players that’s been hitting the ball well in practice, but we’ve got so many good kids that it’s hard to find a place for them.”
Loudon did open the seventh inning with a single, but Lady Wave 2B Michelle Walden fielded a grounder, tagged the runner and threw to first for a double play that killed the rally.
Colyer picked up the victory with a complete-game two-hitter. She allowed one walk and had seven strikeouts.
Midway will be taking the rest of the week off for spring break, but they will continue their tough pre-district portion of their schedule next week with games against Coalfield and Loudon. The Lady Waves are also looking to reschedule an earlier rain-out with Kingston.
Viar and Hutchinson are hoping the tough schedule will help the Lady Waves make their fourth appearance in the last five years in the TSSAA Class A State Tournament.
“We walked into a good situation here,” Viar said of his and Hutchinson’s first year on the job. “A lot of credit goes to the coaches they had last year, in middle school and the youth league in Midway. Our fans also deserve a lot of credit because we have a big following.”
“These girls already have the skills and knowledge to be successful,” Hutchinson added. “We’re just tweaking things a bit.”