AFTON – The path to the regular season softball championship is clear for the Grainger Lady Grizzlies: win their final three games and the title is theirs.
They took the first step toward that goal on Friday afternoon as they downed Chuckey Doak 11-5. The Lady Grizzlies will win the district and clinch a bye in the first round the upcoming conference tournament if they defeat South Greene in the season finale on Monday and Tuesday.
The story of the game was Brooklyn Copley who went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs. She also pitched the final two innings of the game where she retired the Lady Black Knights in order with two of the outs coming on strikeouts. “Brooklyn is special type player who hits the ball really well,” Grainger head coach Rusty Bishop said. “She was also really big stepping in there and closing the door on them in the sixth and seventh innings.”
Grainger had struggled defensively this season and despite committing three errors against Chuckey-Doak, several Lady Grizzlies flashed the leather in Friday’s win. Starting pitcher Shounta Coffey was in a pickle in the fifth inning when the bases were loaded but she made a nifty catch on a pop-up right in front of the circle. Millie Hurst played at shortstop due to the Lady Grizzlies being short-handed and made a pair of dazzling defensive stops. “Millie hasn’t played shortstop since she was about five or six years old,” Bishop joked about Hurst finding a new spot in Friday’s contest. “Shounta is just a hard-nosed player who made that catch, even with the catcher in her way, which was huge at the time.”
Copley led off the game with a double to left field and scored on a double by Hurst. After Chuckey-Doak scored two runs of their own in the first, Copley bombed a solo shot to center to kick off the third inning. The Lady Black Knights got three runs of their own in the home-half of the third which was aided by two errors by Grainger. After that, however, it was all Lady Grizzlies as they exploded for four runs in the fourth inning. Cheri Bonnell, Kylea Cure and Copley all had RBI hits in the inning. Hurst added a run in the fifth and then Grainger tacked on four insurance runs in the sixth. Lexie Sykes and Hurst each had hits for the Lady Grizzlies and then Chuckey-Doak had two miscues in the outfield that allowed Alison Byrd and Karlei Hodge to come home which produced the 11-5 final tally.