Lady Bucks earn four seed after sweeping Southwest Tennessee

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
The Motlow Lady Bucks ended the 2018 softball regular season in grand fashion over the weekend, sweeping visiting Southwest Tennessee and honoring the five sophomores on the team with, among other items, photo collages from Jeff Reed Photography. The sophomores, and their hometowns, from left are: Sarah Wilson, Sparta; Miranda Cooksey, Lewisburg; Ciera Dobbins, LaVergne; Madison Woodruff, Christiana; and Breanna Owens, Fayetteville.
Photo by Jeff Reed Photography

LYNCHBURG, TN (May 1, 2018) – The Motlow Lady Bucks outscored visiting Southwest Tennessee 33-2 and outhit the Lady Saluqis 42-16 on their way to a four-game TCCAA conference sweep last weekend at Lady Bucks Field on Motlow’s Moore County campus.

In the final games of the regular season, the Lady Bucks (26-18, 23-11) beat Southwest 8-0, 11-2 on Saturday and 8-0, 6-0 Sunday. Motlow will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s TCCAA/Region VII Tournament, being held at Chattanooga State. The Lady Bucks will play the No. 5 seed, Cleveland State (23-20, 15-17) Sunday, May 6, at 3 p.m. EST.

Chattanooga State, currently ranked No. 12 in the nation, enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed after winning the regular season championship. Walters State is No. 2 and Volunteer State is the No. 3 seed. The tournament champion will be crowned Wednesday, May 9, and will qualify for the NJCAA Softball Championship in St. George, Utah, beginning May 16.

But before the Lady Bucks worry too much about the tournament, they will savor their dominating weekend. Motlow has won 12 out of its previous 16 games, all in the conference, and its No. 4 tournament seed is the highest for the program since 2011. The Lady Bucks honored their five sophomores, Breanna Owens, Miranda Cooksey, Madison Woodruff, Sarah Wilson and Ciera Dobbins, before Saturday’s contests.

Wilson was the first of four Motlow pitchers to toss complete games during the weekend, as she allowed just three hits with four strikeouts in the 8-0 series opening win. Woodruff, Ariel McAtee and Kylie Thackerson each had two hits, with Woodruff driving in three runs and Madison Hopkins and Haley Hinshaw driving in two each. Motlow stole four bases, including two by Thackerson.

Game two on Saturday was Owens’ turn in the circle and she didn’t disappoint, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts in the 11-2 victory. Owens, who has signed to continue her career as a student-athlete at Martin Methodist College, helped herself at the plate with two hits and three runs batted in. Ace Hanson and Cooksey also had two hits, and Cooksey and Jennifer Corbitt each drove in two runs. The Lady Bucks stole seven bases, including two each by Hanson, Kendall Durard, and McAtee.

Forced to move the series back a day because of wet field conditions, starting on Saturday instead of the usual Friday; Sunday’s action began with another stellar pitching performance, this time by Durard. The Shelbyville freshman allowed just two hits with six strikeouts in her five innings of work as Motlow scored four runs in the fifth inning to invoke the run rule.

McAtee drove in four runs with a pair of hits, while Hinshaw had three hits. Hopkins and Thackerson each added two hits, and Corbitt and McAtee each stole a base.

The series finale brought freshman Samantha King to the circle for Motlow and she completed the sweep by allowing just three hits with nine strikeouts. Dobbins and Caroline Sarris had two hits each, with Dobbins driving in two runs with a triple.

Heading into the tournament, Thackerson leads the Lady Bucks with a .410 batting average and has 18 stolen bases. Cooksey has hit .302, slammed eight home runs and driven in 29 runs, while Hinshaw has hit .360 with three homers and has also driven home 29 runs. King has hit .310 with six home runs and Durard is batting .349 and has four home runs with 26 RBI.

The Lady Bucks have 11 players hitting .300 or better. In the circle, Durard is 13-8 with a 2.26 earned run average and 106 strikeouts in 136.1 innings pitched. King is 4-4 with a 3.39 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 66 innings, and Owens is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 46 innings.

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