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Wilson Central sweeps way to state title

Kenny Howell

Managing Editor

The Wilson Central Lady Wildcat softball team captured their first state championship Friday, holding off Dickson County, 6-5. 

“I am very proud of our girls,” said Wilson Central Head Coach Mike Shepard. “This was our goal at the beginning of the season. We definitely had some bumps along the way.”

Central’s bats had been popping in the state tournament, as they started with a 11-1 win over Collierville, then a 10-5 win over Siegel. They knocked off Ooltewah, 7-2 Thursday to earn the spot in the final game. 

Things looked like they were going to keep rolling in the game against Dickson County Friday, as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after just two innings. 

Claire Smith scored the first run on a passed ball, and cleanup hitter Katie Eakes, known for smashing in runs, laid down a perfect bunt to score Morgan Powell from third. 

“She’s probably the best bunter on the team,” said Shepard who said he was looking to catch Dickson County off guard. 

In the second inning, the bases got loaded on two walks and a hit by pitch, and they all came in on a pair of errors by Dickson County. Brooke Pfefferle grounded to second, and the throw came home. It was off target, scoring a run, and a second run came home when the ball ricocheted back into the infield. The second throw home was off target again, and the third run came in to make 5-0. 

Eakes followed that with a RBI single to right, and the Lady Wildcats were cruising at 6-0. 

“We were able to get after them early and make them make some mistakes,” said Shepard. 

The switch flipped for Dickson County in the third, as they were able to get three runners across on three base hits. 

They followed with two more runs in the top of the fourth to close it to 6-5.

Central was able to calm the charge, but Dickson County kept the pressure on the rest of the game. The Lady Cougars got runners on first and third with two out in the sixth, but Hannah Bodenhorn got out of the jam. They also got a runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh, but Bodenhorn responded with a strikeout, a flyout to center, and a strikeout for the final out. 

Shepard applauded his team for the entire season, which finished 41-7-1, and captured the District 9-AAA and Region 5-AAA championships in addition to the state title. 

“They had so much fun together as a team,” said Shepard. 

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