Lady Mavs play a game for the ages against rival Clinton

When the 2023 softball season began, Anderson County High School Coach Allen Russell knew that he would have plenty of new faces on the diamond.

The Lady Mavericks’ veteran head coach was also expecting the team to struggle out of the gate.

It did.

But things got better as the season progressed, and ACHS won seven of its last 11 games and had a chance to advance to the Region 2-AAA Tournament.

The Lady Mavericks almost made it, but came up on the short end of a 7-6 slugfest against crosstown rival Clinton in the loser’s bracket final Wednesday, May 10, on their home field.

“We played pretty good and we gave ourselves a chance,” Russell said. “And that’s all you can ask for.

“We hit the ball well, but we had a couple of errors late. I’m really proud of this team. We knew that we would have to get better as the season went on, and we did. The girls gave it all they had, and that’s really all you can ask for.”

ACHS (15-14-1) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring a run in the first inning and another in the third.

The Lady Dragons (23-11), who saw their 2023 campaign come to an end Monday night with a 2-1 loss to Gibbs in the Region 2-AAA semifinals, tallied four times in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead that saw the two teams combine to pound out 24 hits, including 10 that went for extra bases.

The rivals combined for eight doubles and two triples as the Lady Mavs impressed Clinton Coach Leonard Sams with their effort. “They played their best game of the year,” Sams said.

Reece Miller and Kaylin McKamey each had doubles and went 3-for-4. Miller scored three runs while McKamey drove in a pair of runs.

Kaycee Baldwin had two hits and a pair of stolen bases and a run scored. The Lady Mavericks regained the lead with a four-run fifth before Clinton pulled to within 6-5 in the fifth. The Lady Dragons took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the sixth.

Bree McKamey, Addi Gamble. Elizabeth Graham and Eccles had two hits each for Clinton, and Tomi Taylor had three hits.