The Lady Lions scored in six of their seven innings as they amassed 15 hits. They got a home run by Haydyn Jenkins, four doubles and bunted successfully as well in completing a 38-3 season.
“They have great slappers that we have to play up, and then we have to play out outfielders back,” Lady Commander coach Regan Ingram said of the Lady Lions. “It’s very tough. They’re very-well coached. They do a great job of adjusting after each at-bat. If you get them out one way, the next at-bat you have to figure out a way to get them out another way. They’re not just going to go up there and take the same cuts. In the middle of the game, they did a great job of shortening their swings and hitting the ball up the middle. They don’t strike out much and they put so much pressure on you with their speed.”
Friendship finished with 10 hits, including three by Brice Dabbs and two each by Annalise Jarnagin and Cameron Burton. Jernagin homered in the first inning and McCormick in the second. But the Lady Commanders left the bases loaded that inning and stranded nine for the game.
“If you’re going to outscore them, you’re going to earn every one of them,” Ingram said. “Pretty much, if you don’t hit it over, they’re going to run it down. We hit it hard on the ground a bunch of times. Give them credit, they make the plays. It’s a seven-inning ballgame every time you play them with every pitch. You better bring your A-game to beat them. They brought their A-game.
“I thought we did, too. We just didn’t come up with a hit here and there and they came up with a couple. That’s the way it falls.”
Cameron Burton had an RBI single in the second inning and Hannah Alexander drove in Friendship’s final run on a pop fly infield single in the fifth.
For King’s leadoff batter Taylor Weekly drove in three runs on as many hits.
It could have been worse for Friendship but for right-fielder Bayley West’s shoestring catch which she turned into a double play by doubling the runner off of first base.
Friendship, in the finals for the third straight season, including the 2015 championship over King’s, finished 25-13 in Ingram’s first season after leaving Donelson Christian to take over for Jody Atwood, who’s now at Lebanon.
“They got better from beginning to end,” Ingram said of the Lady Commanders, who included seniors Jarnagin, Dabbs, Brooke Eakes, Riley Walker and Kendal Kelsh. “They stuck together. We had great senior leadership that carried us back here. They stuck together and played as a team every day. When we played bad, we played bad as a team. We played good as a team, that’s the only thing you can ask. Throughout the year, we had some bad games, but we didn’t let it get them down. They came back. They’re a very resilient group. They played hard every game.”
Mt. Juliet duo falls to defending champs in state final
Mt. Juliet graduates Dylan Chambers and Josh Walker finished their senior seasons as second in Class AAA boys’ doubles after running into Tennessee’s buzzsaw of Jacob Marshall and Charlie Moseley, who claimed another state championship 6-1, 6-0 Friday morning at Old Fort Park.
Neighbors for over a decade, they’ve been doubles partners throughout their high school careers. They’ve played with and against each other since they were 7.
“We’ve played against each other in tournaments before, but we decided to focus on doubles, and that’s been our primary focus all four years in high school at Mt. Juliet,” Chambers said.
“He’s like a brother to me,” Walker said.
MJ’s Shea vaults to state championship
Mt. Juliet junior Cole Shea won the Class AAA state pole vault championship Thursday afternoon at Middle Tennessee State’s Dean A. Hayes Stadium.
Shea’s vault of 14-6 was six inches better than Brentwood freshman Jeff Kinder.
The other boys’ events were held Friday and were in progress at press time.
Other than the pole vault, Thursday belonged to the girls.
Wilson Central freshman Zoe Vlk was fourth in the AAA discus with a toss of 120-9.
Mt. Juliet sophomore Julia Karsten was sixth in the 800-meter run in 2:23.16. Lebanon junior Ashley Grimes was seventh in the 300 hurdles in :46.97.
Watertown senior Mya Huddleston, her school’s first state qualifier, was eighth in the A-AA shot put with a toss of 32-4.75.