TKA turns tables on Friendship
MURFREESBORO -- Facing two elimination games, The King's Academy swept Friendship Christian 6-4 and 7-5 Friday, May 27 to win the the Division II-A state softball championship at Starplex.
TKA (41-6) finished 5-3 against Friendship this season, while the Lady Commanders wrapped up a 38-10-1 campaign.
Friday's contests marked a reversal of fortune for TKA as the Lady Lions dropped two games to FCS a year ago in the state finals.
"I don't think there's any question these are the two best softball teams in this division -- if not the state," said FCS head coach Jody Atwood.
"King's lost this game a year ago and I'm sure they were motivated to get back here. I hope our girls take the same initiative.
"It's hard to get here, it'a a long season. I'm so proud of our effort, it's a bad taste right now, but I'm proud of 'em."
Friendship had a golden opportunity to win the title in Friday's first game, but Riley Walker lined into an inning ending double play in the bottom of the seventh with the winning run on third.
"There's no question we had chances in Game One," Atwood said. "I felt like we left that one on the field with a real opportunity to win the game. It just didn't happen."
Down 7-3 in the championship game, the Lady Commanders cut the margin to 7-5 with a long two-run homer off the bat of Courtney Miles.
TKA rapped out 12 hits and took advantage of three FCS errors in a game that featured five lead changes.
The King's Academy took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Friendship Christian answered with two runs of its own in the first on a two-run home run by Riley Walker.
Friendship 3, TKA 2
MURFREESBORO -- Friendship Christian will play in Friday's Division II-A tournament finals following a thrilling 3-2 walk off win over The King's Academy Thursday at Starplex.
The defending state champion Lady Commanders improved to 38-8-1 and will take on either TKA or University School of Jackson in the 10 a.m. championship game back at Starplex No. 3. An "if necessary" game would be staged at 3 p.m.
Senior Courtney Miles banged a bases loaded single over the drawn-in infield in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Kennedy West from third with the walk off game winner.
West, an eighth grader, started the inning with a double off the fence in center, then leadoff hitter Courtney Petty singled up the middle, moving West to third. Brooke Eakes walked to load the bases for Miles, who delivered on a 2-1 count.
"This bunch is resilient," said Friendship coach Jody Atwood. "It doesn't matter what they throw at us, we managed to find a way to get it done."
Down 2-0 early, Friendship banged out 11 hits, scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth to tie the game.
Riley Walker continued her hot streak at the plate, ripping a solo homer and double in four at bats.
"Riley's homer was a line shot to left into the teeth of the wind," Atwood said. "There was no doubt it was gone the second it left her bat."
Annalise Jarnagin drove in a run with a single while Brice Dabbs and Petty each had two hits.
Petty (25-2) went the distance for the win, scattering seven hits, walking one and striking out seven.
"Courtney is a bulldog," Atwood said. "The longer the game goes, the tougher she gets. She had all her pitches working today."