Collierville’s Kelsey Gross is tagged out by a Dickson County player Thursday in the Class AAA state softball tournament.
Collierville’s Hannah Oliver stretches to make the catch Thursday against Dickson County.
MURFREESBORO – Entering the losers’ bracket game Thursday morning of the Class 3A State Softball Tournament, both head coaches were still waiting on their team’s bats to arrive to Murfreesboro.
Dickson County Lady Cougars Head Coach Shane Buchanan could breathe a sigh of relief at the McKnight Fields Complex. But his counterpart Collierville Lady Dragons Skipper Mike Bradley left Murfreesboro still wondering what happen to his team’s offense.
The Lady Cougars survived and advanced beating the Lady Dragons 14-2. Collierville arrived to Murfreesboro as one of the best teams in the State with a 29-5 record and as District 15-3A and Region 8-3A champions.
After losing their opener to Wilson Central May 19, the Lady Dragons had just enough offense to outlast Hardin Valley 2-1 setting up a match up with the defending State champion Lady Cougars.
“They hit the ball,” Bradley said. “You hit the ball, good things will happen. We hadn’t hit the ball all week up here. We’ve struggled offensively. It’s not the time to do it. They came out and swung the bats well today.”
Dickson County jumped out with three runs in the first inning with Ashley Scott driving in a pair of runners with a single.
Scott had another big blow in the second inning, crushing a two-run homer to make the score 6-0. Dickson County was ahead 7-0 after two innings.
The Lady Cougars used the top four hitters of Selena Crafton, Makray Odom, Payton Grove and Scott to add four more runs in the third inning to take an 11-0 advantage.
Odom’s single in the fourth inning made the score 13-0. Collierville showed some fight in its half of the frame when Kelsey Gross stroked a double to drive in Bayleigh Wisher. Shelby Crocker added another RBI for the Lady Dragons with a single.
“We’ve got a good team,” Bradley said. “We’ve played and done well all year. It’s just sometimes it doesn’t happen for you. There’s a reason Dickson County is the defending State Champs for last year.
“They struggled so far hitting,” he continued. “All of sudden, they find it, a bad time for us and a good time for them. It’s tough.”
The 2015 season came to an end for the Lady Dragons and the prep careers of seniors Cullen Crocker, Eli Buriss, Jacqueline Conlan, Brooke Castillo, Bayleigh Wisher, Hannah Oliver and Kari Kennell.
“They paved the way for these young kids,” Bradley said. “They’ve had a great career. They won three straight district champions, three straight Region champions and three straight trips up here. We’ve lost some tough games up here. For some reason we didn’t play well up here this year.
“They’ve done a lot of good things for these young kids like showed them how to win, work hard and how everything is in our favor,” he concluded. “They showed them what it takes. They’ve meant so much to me and this program. They’re a great group of kids. Hopefully the young kids will learn from what they’ve showed and grow.”