Aly Walker’s Clutch Homer Puts Mocs in SoCon Title Game
(soconsports.com) CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – No. 3 seed Chattanooga upset top-seed UNCG 3-1 at the Southern Conference Softball Championship at Jim Frost Stadium on Friday afternoon. Chattanooga (36-14), now 3-0 in the tournament, advances to the championship for the 16th time in league history and will face either UNCG, ETSU or Mercer on Saturday.
UNCG got on the board first in the pitchers; duel. With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Melanie Darges doubled to left center field and Monica Pepe drove her in with a single. The Spartans threatened more damage after a Delaney Cumbie single put two on base, but Chattanooga’s Celie Hudson, the 2019 SoCon Pitcher of the Year, struck out Marisa Sholtes to get out of the jam.
First-team All-SoCon pitcher Stephanie Bryden held Chattanooga to just one hit, a double by Halie Williamson in the second inning, before the sixth inning. With two outs in the sixth, Emily Coltharp, the 2019 SoCon Freshman of the Year, reached on an error. Aly Walker, the right fielder, took the fourth pitch of her at bat to straight-away center field, giving Chattanooga its first lead of the contest.
UNCG put a runner on base in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a walk by Darges, but the Spartans were unable to get her across. In the top of the seventh, Williamson led off the inning with her second double of the contest, roping the first pitch of the at bat down the left field line. Catcher Amanda Beltran laid down a sacrifice bunt and Makenzi Grider, who entered to run for Williamson, moved to third. Cameren Swafford entered to pinch hit for Gracey Kruse and hit a sacrifice fly to left as Grider tagged and scored to an insurance run for the Mocs.
Chattanooga got the first two batters out in the bottom of the seventh, striking out Cumbie and forcing Sholtes to line out to left field. Bryden reached on an error by the shortstop, but Chattanooga got Gabi Howard to ground into a fielder’s choice and the Mocs sealed the deal.
UNCG totaled four hits but left nine on base, while Chattanooga had three hits thanks to Williamson’s two doubles and Walker’s home run. Hudson and Bryden each went the distance in the circle.