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Youthful Viqueens Bid For Third Consecutive State Tournament Berth Thwarted By Cheatham County

Noah Maddox
Posted 5/20/24

The Community Viqueens gave up the go-ahead run in the 6th inning to fall, 4-3, at home to the Cheatham County Central Lady Cubs in the Class 2-A State-Sectional round on Sunday.

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Youthful Viqueens Bid For Third Consecutive State Tournament Berth Thwarted By Cheatham County


The Community Viqueens fell just short of a third consecutive state tournament appearance,, falling 4-3 to the visiting Cheatham County Lady Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Originally scheduled for Friday evening, the sectional matchup was moved to Sunday due to rain, and ended up being the final sectional matchup of the weekend. With the bracket already having been drawn on Saturday, both teams knew the winner would be matched up with one of the tournament favorites, Aloa, in the first round in Murfreesboro on Tuesday. 

The winner looked like, at least early on, that it might be Community for the third-straight season. After Annie Prince, who no-hit Summertown in the Region 5-AA Championship on Wednesday, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning on 31 pitches, Anna Haskins roped the third pitch she saw from Haylee Dowlan to left-centerfield for a leadoff double. After Alana Tate sacrifice-bunted Haskins to third, freshman Gracie Daniel delivered an infield RBI single to put the Viqueens ahead, 1-0. 

Anna Haskins (3) hit a leadoff double and scored the first run of the game on Sunday.
Anna Haskins (3) hit a leadoff double and scored the first run of the game on Sunday.

Unfortunately for Cheatham County, the ball Daniel hit was smoked right back up the middle, and it loudly connected with Dowlan on the left shin. She almost immediately crumpled to the ground in pain, but after Katie Pacifici, the Lady Cubs’ head coach, came out to check on her ace, Dowlan was able to continue.

On the very next pitch, Haylee Webb hit one right back up the middle into center field that Dowlan was barely able to get out of the way of in time, sending Daniel to third with two outs. However, Dowlan was able to escape the jam after an eight-pitch battle with Kailani Allen ended with a groundout to third to end the inning just down one run. 

After a rough first inning for both pitchers, they both seemed to settle down. 

Viqueens sophomore, Annie Prince, went 4.2 innings, giving up two runs, both earned, on four hits, including a home run, and seven walks while striking out seven batters on 118 pitches. She was relieved with two outs in the fifth inning for freshman Gracie Daniel. Daniel closed out the final 2.1 innings, giving up two unearned runs on a single hit with no walks or strikeouts over 31 pitches.

On the visitors side, lefty Haylee Dowlan locked in after getting hit in the first inning, throwing a complete-game on 95 pitches and picking up the win. She gave up three earned runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out one batter. 

In the second inning, Prince struck out Cannon Johnson looking with runners on first and second to keep the Lady Cubs scoreless. Her counterpart in the circle, Dowlan, gave up a leadoff single to Carlie Blanton, but after Kenzie Tucker sacrifice-bunted her to second, Blanton saw third base unoccupied for a moment and took off. Instead, she became caught in a pickle between second and third, eventually becoming the second out of the inning. Brooklyn Yoes grounded out to short to end the inning. 

Prince had her cleanest inning in the third, working around a one-out walk to cleanup hitter Sydney Crouch by getting a pair of routine pop-ups to strand the runner.

The Viqueens bats took advantage in the home half, even after Haskins led the inning off with a flyout to center and Taylor Wessner grounded out to third. A two-out single into left-center from Tate brought up Daniel to the plate, and after Tate stole second, Daniel doubled her home for the freshman’s second RBI and to give her Viqueens a 2-0 lead going into the fourth inning. 

Prince started out the inning with a pair of strikeouts, but after a two-out, nine-pitch walk to the nine-hole hitter, Lauren Anderson, Middle Tennessee Softball signee Macie Harder worked a full count before crushing a no-doubt two-run home run to dead center to miraculously tie the game at 2-2. 

All of the energy on the home side palpably whooshed across the diamond to the first-base visitors dugout, and Community would never lead again. 

The bottom of the order for the Viqueens was held scoreless in the home half of the fourth inning, sending Prince right back out to the circle for the fifth.

Mylah Harter worked another full count to start the inning, yanking the eighth pitch of the at-bat down the right field line for a leadoff single. After Sydney Crouch worked her third consecutive walk of the game on another full count, a one-out walk to Georgia Hunter on Prince’s 118th pitch loaded the bases and knocked the Viqueens’ starter from the circle.

Gracie Daniel came in tasked with trying to navigate out of the jam, and she almost did just that. With Kelsey Titus at the plate, a passed ball from Blanton behind the plate allowed the leadoff base runner in Harter to come home to score the go-ahead run and give Cheatham County a 3-2 lead. 

In the mayhem, Community struggled to find the ball, and Crouch came careening home after a hard turn around third base. Daniel found the ball at the last second, flipping it to Blanton who stretched to tag Crouch at the plate. Crouch appeared to get her right foot underneath the tag, but she was instead called out at the plate, much to the dismay of the visiting fans. Daniel then settled down to record a groundout and end the inning.

Community’s bats would respond yet again, and after back-to-back one-out singles by Wessner and Tate, the hosts had runners on first and second. Daniel lined out to third on a hard-hit ball, but then Haylee Webb smoked a base hit into centerfield for the second time that reached the wall, tying the game at 3-3 with Wessner scoring, but a great throw by Macie Harter cut Webb down at second to end the inning.

In the sixth inning, eight-hole hitter Sophia Dolinich reached first via an error in left on a dropped fly ball. Anderson followed that up with a grounder to third, but Webb overthrew Yoes at first base, allowing Dolinich to reach third and Anderson to reach safely at first. It also flipped the lineup over with nobody out, bringing up the dangerous Macie Harter.

With second base open, Community intentionally walked Harter to load the bases with nobody out. Cannon Johnson ambushed the first pitch of the next at-bat into center to drive home Dolinich and give the Lady Cubs a 4-3 lead. Anderson tried to score as well, but a good throw gunned her down at the plate for the first out. Mylah Harter grounded to third, and Macie Harter found herself caught in a pickle between second and third. Mylah reached safely, but Macie was tagged for the second out. After Crouch grounded out to short, the Viqueens knew they had six outs to score one run.

Unfortunately for the hosts, they would only get one more base runner in those final six outs: a one out walk to Carlie Blanton in the sixth. 

After Daniel recorded the first and only 1-2-3 inning In the top of seventh, the top of the order for the Viqueens came up to try and get a rally started. However, Dowlan saved her best for last, retiring the side in order on just six pitches to punch the Lady Cubs’ ticket to the State Tournament. 

Community’s season ends one game short of their third-consecutive state tournament appearance at 24-12 (6-2). With no seniors and only a pair of juniors, the Viqueens are primed for a great run moving forward over the next couple of seasons.

Community Viqueens, Cheatham County Lady Cubs, Middle Tennessee Softball