The Henry County Lady Wildcats headed into 31st District tournament play with a looming question in the circle: how would freshman Sophia Lay fare in her replacement of injured star pitcher Grace Adams?
The answer: two wins in two games with Lay allowing just one hit in a total of eight innings and striking out 21 batters of the 24 outs she recorded.
“She did excellent,” said coach Ally Vaughn. “I couldn’t ask for anything better or more. She did everything she was supposed to do and did it with class.”
Lay no-hit Trimble County in the title game, which lasted just four innings due to the 15-run rule. She handled opposing batters in just 51 pitches. Her outing came after another four-inning win against Carroll County, in which Lay surrendered just one hit and an unearned run while striking out 11.
The wins advanced Henry County to the 8th Region tournament that starts with the Lady Wildcats playing at home on Wednesday.
“It’s a good feeling to be in the number one spot in our region and host the first game,” said Vaughn.
Henry County improved to 21-6 with the district title win, finishing district play a perfect 11-0 this year. The Lady Wildcats benefitted from six errors by Trimble County in the title game and four by Carroll in the semifinals, but the team also belted 23 hits in the two games.
“We’ve been hitting it really well,” said Vaughn. “I think we’re seeing it really well, and it’s a good time of the year to be seeing it well.”
In the title game, Micah MaGruder saw one pitch well enough to smack a two-run homer to centerfield. MaGruder finished the game with three RBI, as did sophomore infielder Madeline Lay, whose two-run single in the fourth inning scored Lizzie Young and Sydney Raisor to officially end the game. Young scored twice in the game while Raisor and Lizzy Hansen each scored three times.
MaGruder and Raisor joined Sophia Lay and Kennedy Brown as All-District performers.
The title win marks the third straight 31st District championship for Henry County