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It wasn’t spoken about often, but the Central High School Lady Raider softball team knew a perfect season in district play would mean a four-year run of unprecedented success in one district.
Stingy Cookeville defense and a poor showing from the Lady Raiders in the field ruined that Monday.
Cookeville rolled into town and used four Lady Raider errors to beat Coffee County 1-0 at the CHS Lady Raider softball complex, handing the Lady Raiders their first district loss in 34 District 6-AAA games dating back to the start of the 2010 season when they first joined the district.
Coffee County’s Brianna Jones provided stellar pitching, striking out 14 Lady Cavaliers. But four CHS errors allowed the Lady Cavaliers to come out on top after crossing the plate on an unearned run in the fifth. It also cost Jones a mark in the loss column despite allowing just 2 hits and no walks over 7 innings of work.
Errors and unearned runs have plagued the Lady Raiders this season – especially Jones. The loss drops Jones’ record to 5-3 for the year, despite a 0.23 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings pitched.
Coffee County managed five hits, including two doubles by Ginny Clayborne,
but left four runners on base and lost another runner caught stealing. In 16 games this season, the Lady Raiders have left 87 runners on base.
“We didn’t have timely hitting,” said CHS coach Terry Floyd. “We had a hard time getting bunts down when we needed to.”
The Lady Raiders got no breaks against Cookeville, but as Floyd notes, “You’ve got to make those breaks–by making something happen at the plate, by digging out balls on defense.”
Floyd plans to shake-up the infield, including moving Clayborne, a four-year player at second base, to shortstop, until the CHS defense is as solid as it needs to be.
Monday’s loss drops Coffee County’s’ record to 12-5 for the year (1-1 District 6-AAA). In four seasons in 6-AAA the Lady Raiders now have a 33-1 district record. As part of TSSAA realignment the Lady Raiders return to familiar District 8-AAA next year. District 8-AAA is where Coffee County previously played before being moved to District 6-AAA in the 2009-2010 school year.
The Lady Raiders host White County at 7 p.m. Tuesday in another district contest. The junior varsity plays a game at 5 p.m.