SEYMOUR — The King’s Academy softball coach Marc Weekly had a firm message for his team heading into Thursday’s game against Alcoa.
“We will not look at another strike again,” Weekly said. “If you do, you’re going to be on the bench.”
The Lady Lions were coming off a one-run loss to Knoxville Grace Christian Academy in which they left 11 runners on base Tuesday. For that reason, timely hitting was their primary focus against Alcoa, and they appeared to get Weekly’s message loud a clear.
Every batter in TKA’s lineup contributed at least one RBI en route to an 11-0 run-rule victory over the Lady Tornadoes.
“Our girls knew we had to make some changes,” Weekly said. “Against Grace, we just sat back and tried to umpire the count too much instead of just attacking.”
The Lady Lions (15-2) got nine hits against Alcoa (10-8-1). Regan Weekly, Marc Weekly’s daughter, accounted for three of those hits with a double, triple and a home run — a single short of the cycle. Blayne King led TKA in RBIs with three.
“We struggled a little bit earlier in the week, so to have this is a real confidence (boost),” King said. “To build from that, that’s really big for our team.”
TKA was also celebrating Haydyn Jenkins’ birthday. Jenkins was 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. She said the difference between TKA’s performance against Alcoa and Grace Christian was its aggressive approach at the plate.
“(Against Grace Christian), we were very hesitant and more defensive,” Jenkins said. “Today, we came out just ready to attack. That first strike we saw, everyone was hitting.”
TKA scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Regan Weekly got things started with a double to left field before Jenkins sent her home with an RBI double. King’s two-run double on a line drive to center field put the Lady Lions ahead 3-0.
TKA stalled on offense in the second inning before getting back to work in the third. Regan Weekly led off with a triple to right field before scoring on a sacrifice fly. KJ Ammons and Sarah Webb drove in runs to give TKA a 6-0 lead.
It was only a matter of time before Regan Weekly hit one out of the park. Her solo home run in the fourth put the Lady Lions ahead 7-0. King, Madison Croegaert, Katelyn Norris and Kaylan Cole also contributed RBIs that inning.
While not a fan of the outcome, Alcoa coach Sarah Fekete Bailey said it’s always fun to play against one of the best teams in the state. She was a player for Tennessee from 2003-06 when Marc Weekly was an assistant coach for the Vols.
“Marc is a great coach, and he has a great ball club,” Fekete Bailey said. “To come out and compete against good teams, that only makes you better. If you’re not competing and challenging yourself, you don’t grow.”
Marc Weekly said Fekete Bailey’s playing style was reflected in the Lady Tornadoes. They played with heart, as was evidenced by the performance of shortstop Audrey Roach.
In the bottom of the third, Roach dove into the left field fence while attempting to catch a foul ball. It was a hard collision that temporarily halted play while her coaches and teammates gathered around her.
Roach got up and returned to action. She immediately made a tough over-the-shoulder catch for an out.
“Her team plays with guts,” Marc Weekly said. “Sarah is already doing great things at Alcoa.”