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State Champs! Lady Indians win 9-2

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Jay could not comeback from slow start

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The Chiefland Lady Indians softball team is the Florida 1A softball champions, winning 9-2 over the Jay Royals in the title game at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. 

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Both teams looked well matched when the first inning ended 0-0 but Chiefland's pitcher Lauren Stalvey fired up her screwball to hold off the Lady Royals batters and the Lady Indians' batters found the Jay teams weakness between third base, the shortstop and the right outfield.

Tatneisha Barnes was the first Lady Indian to come home after getting on first, stealing second and then rounding third for hom on a hit by Samantha Rolfe in the second inning.

Then Morgan Anderson fired off a hit to bring Rolfe home and the score went 2-0.

It went o 4-0 Chiefland when Emily Hallman and Lauren Parker came home.

Stalvey, whose pitches were being clocked at 43-52 mph, only walked two players. The Royals brough those two home for the only score in the game. The score was 5-2 in the 6th inning. 

The Lady Royals pitchers did not have as good a day as the umpires (from Hillsborough County) called several pitching errors.

But the Lady Indians were not ready to concede a comeback to the Lady Royals and in the 6th inning they stretched their lead to 9-2. After three outs in the top of the 7th by Jay, the Lady Indians celebrated on the mound. 

This is the first state title for the Lady Indians who went to the state Final Four in 2007 under the same coach Wayne Weatherford. Weatherford, who has 20 years coaching Chiefland softball, with one time out for illness, will be back next year with essentially the same team.

There are only 2 seniors ont he team, Brittany Gilliam and Kelsi Alexander.  

 

FRIDAY UPDATE:

The Chiefland Lady Indians took control early in the state semifinal game against Sneads High Lady Pirates opening up a 3-0 lead by the third inning and never let it go winning the game 12-2. 

The Lady Indians will face the Jay Royals in the state championship on Saturday, May 10, at 11:05 a.m. at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. The game will be streamed on the Internet by Bright House Sports. There is a cost for viewing the game. Visit www.bhsn.com. Beef O'Brady's in Chiefland will also be streaming the game. 

Jay won the semifinal game 14-8 against the Bell Lady Bulldogs from neighboring Gilchrist County. Jay had a 23-3 record going into the game against Bell's 10-9 record for the season. 

Brian Watson, Jay's softball coach, has been with the school for 10 years and his win-loss record is 177-61. 

Chiefland was 18-5 going into Friday morning's game against Sneads.

Lauren Stalvey was the pitcher and Emily Hallman was catching. Stalvey only allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 1 error, shutting down the Sneads bats. She only allowed the 2 hits in the 6th inning. 

Brittany Gillian — one of two seniors on the team — had 3 runs, while 2 runs were by Hallman and Takiya London, and scoring 1 run were Lauren Parker, Tatneisha Barnes, Sydney Parks, Samantha Rolfe and Hanna Gore. 

For the Lady Indians 7 of their runs came in the 7th inning as they entered it with the score 5-2. 

 

EARLIER STORY:

Holy cow! Did you hear the one about the girls softball team that spent three days on a school bus going back and forth across the state to play a regional semifinal game only to be rained out twice and return home every day to take tests in the morning, the come back and on the third day won?

But wait, did I tell you the part about the fourth day they came home to face the neighboring county powerhouse that they lost to three times in a season, that had a 22-0 record, on that team's home turf?

Well. The story has a happy ending for the Chiefland Lady Indians.

They trounced Taylor Pierson 6-0 in the Region 4 semifinals on Thursday, May 1, at T. DeWitt Taylor Middle/High School in Volusia County. 

The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 29, but was rescheduled after rain forced a postponement that day and again on Wednesday. 

Then on Friday, May 2, the Lady Indians took on the 22-0 Dixie County Lady Bears and won the regional final 3-2. 

Shades of 2007 when the Lady Indians clocked out Dixie's hopes of making the state finals with a 3-0 win. The Lady Indians later went on to lose 6-0 to Miami Gulliver, a private school, in the state semifinals.

This trip to state could be different and that comes from the coach who was there then and who is taking them to state again. 

Wayne Weatherford said, “Our stats are really good. We're 18 and 5 and this is my second trip and I am so excited.”  

Weatherford has a pretty good record in his 20 years of coaching with 263 wins and 113 losses. 

Sneads is 25-3 for the season and Sneads head coach Kelvin Johnson boasts a 136-39 record. Their last state Final Four appearance was in 2011. 

“The girls are just phenomenal,” he said. “Nobody expected to go (to state) this year. But it's not a surprise because there's a lot of talent there.”

He said the Dixie County Lady Bears may have underestimated his team. 

“Oh. My. Gosh. We were just so ready to play them,” he said. “Our girls never gave up. They said we're going to beat Dixie.

“And I kept saying: They beat us three times and I'm not so sure about it. I was just saying that. 

“But when we got a double at bat I knew they were ready.”

Emily Hallman and Brittany Gilliam hit doubles in the first inning. Hallman made it home in the first making the score 1-0, Chiefland.

In the second inning, Sydney Parks got on base and Morgan Anderson had a single advancing Parks.  Hannah Gore hit a single sending Parks home and the score was 2-0, Chiefland. 

In the 4th inning, Dixie scored its first run making the game 2-1 and in the 5th inning scored with an out of the park home run tying the game 2-2. 

Lauren Parker hit a double in the 7th inning that brought Hallman home for the second time – she got on base with a walk – and the score went 3-2. 

Weatherford said, “When we went to Taylor Pierson three days in a row, the Dixie County coach thought we were too tired to play – he thought they're going to be down.” 

The coach said it was shades of 2007 last Friday night in Cross City. 

“We did that same thing. We played Dixie in the regional for the Final Four,” he said. “And they know Dixie is going to be an admirable team.” Back then, Weatherford's daughter Megan was playing on the team as pitcher. 

You can look for a future with this team, with only two seniors – Brittany Gilliam and Kelsi Alexander – leading the team, you will see most of the players return next year. 

“I'm going to miss Brittany and Kelsi. They took charge and kept their mind in the game,” he said. “It's going to be hard to fill those shoes next year.”

For much of the team the gloss of a state final may be thin as most of them played on the Chiefland basketball team that went to the state Final Four in February. 

“Sneads, they're a good team,” Weatherford said.

But bottom line: “We expect to be in the championship on Saturday morning.”