MURFREESBORO — Alcoa coach Sarah Bailey thought her team looked a little frazzled by the stage Tuesday night in its first game of the Class AA state softball tournament.
That’s probably because it’s an unfamiliar one to the Lady Tornadoes, who were taking on Creek Wood of Charlotte. It’s Alcoa’s first appearance in the Spring Fling since 2006.
“We came out a little bit probably ‘deer in the headlights,’ not knowing what to expect,” Bailey said. “This is these kids’ first time being at the Spring Fling, so coming out (they were) a little bit nervous.”
Creek Wood slowly pulled away from Alcoa en route to an 8-0 victory at the Murfreesboro Sports Complex. The loss drops the Lady Tornadoes (24-11-1) into the loser’s bracket, where they will play Sequatchie County (31-11) at 10 a.m. CT today in an elimination game.
Alcoa is 0-5 in the state tournament in program history. Creek Wood (35-5-1) will face Lexington (45-4) at 4 p.m.
“We played with them through about four and then the ball just started bouncing not in our favor.” Bailey said. “I think (Creek Wood) got some confidence, and we didn’t make a couple plays, then kind of lost focus.”
Creek Wood pitcher Lennon Spicer didn’t make things any easier for the Lady Tornadoes. Spicer earned the win, striking out 12 while allowing three hits over seven innings.
SieAnna Cameron, Juliann Jones and Cierra Hudson contributed hits for Alcoa.
“They’ve got a great pitcher,” Bailey said. “We knew that coming in. We just didn’t make adjustments quick enough.”
The Red Hawks got on the board in the top of the first when they strung together three of their 14 hits. Sam Morgan’s RBI single put Creek Wood ahead, 1-0.
Alcoa looked poised to answer when Cameron led off the bottom of the first with a single to left field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kaylee Stuckey. That momentum came to a halt as a strikeout and a groundout ended the inning.
Spicer extended Creek Wood’s lead in the top of the third with a two-run single to make it 3-0. A centerfielder, Cameron limited the damage by catching on a ball hit over the fence for the the final out.
Alcoa robbed Creek Wood of other opportunities as well, such as in the top of the fifth when the Red Hawks led off with a walk and a single. Both runners advanced to scoring position on defensive indifference before a groundout scored one for a 4-0 advantage.
With one out, a strange play ended the inning. Sam Morgan initially appeared to score the fifth run on a sacrifice fly to Cameron, but she was ruled to have left the base early and was called out.
The mistake didn’t seem to faze the Red Hawks. They got RBI singles from Madelyn Pullum, Samantha England and Jase Jackson in the top of the sixth to go ahead 7-0 before Alex Edwards’ RBI single in the seventh inning rounded out the scoring.
The Lady Tornadoes will aim to put the game behind them and focus on Sequatchie County. Bailey said the team has watched some film on the Indians out of Dunlap.
“They look pretty similar to us through their lineup, so we’ll see,” she said. “That’s always our end goal. We want to end up being in a place to win championships, so we’ve just got to be better tomorrow.”