STATE CHAMPIONS: Watts’ Grand Slam Powers Tigerettes Over Eagleville

by Rusty Ellis

Coverage of Spring Fling is presented by Steel Technologies

The Gordonsville Tigerettes returned to the mountaintop of the Class A softball world, as they took down Eagleville 5-2 in the Championship game on Friday.

Kailey Plumlee took the bump, and delivered another good outing for the Tigerettes, as she tossed seven innings, gave up two runs and struck out 15 batters in the winning effort.

After both teams took turns tossing up zeroes in the first four innings, it was Gordonsville who struck first in the fifth inning on an RBI bunt-single off the bat of Kailyn Roberts.

After Eagleville elected to walk Plumlee intentionally, Kelsie Watts came through with the biggest hit of the game as she blasted a grand slam over the right-center field fence to give the Tigerettes a commanding 5-0 lead.

It held that way all the way until the bottom of the seventh, as Plumlee struggled a bit with her command and allowed two runs to come in on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk.

She beared down just like she had in just about every other situation like it however, and she struck out the final batter looking to clinch the Class A Championship and get the celebration started for Gordonsville.

Plumlee’s second strikeout was the 1,000th of her young career, as she finished the State Tournament with 68 total strikeouts in four games, eclipsing last year’s total by four punch-outs.

It’s a rewarding moment for coach Randy Jennings, as he stood in for Jonathan Bush for the entirety of the season’s stretch run and helped guide a team that had championship aspirations to the promised land.

“It feels great, I’m just excited for the girls,” Jennings said. “Several months of hard work go into this, and it’s just a great moment for this group…they didn’t want Kailey to beat them, but then Kelsie came through with a monster hit. I told her ‘I don’t need a home run, I just need a hard hit ball put in play,’ and she more than delivered for us.”

It was a magical moment for Watts, as the moment she rounded third and saw all her teammates waiting on her is something she says she’ll never forget.

“Once I saw that clear the fence, I was just so (happy),” Watts said. “It just felt amazing.”

Plumlee closes her sophomore season sitting at 1,013 career strikeouts, and she’ll have two more years to add onto that total.

She was here a year ago when the team finished fourth overall, and she says she was motivated to not just make it back to Murfreesboro; she wanted to finish the job for the team and for coach Bush.

“I was really motivated to make it back here for him,” Plumlee said. “It was ecstatic. Just seeing him here to watch us play and win a state championship. It was a really awesome moment.”

Jennings has been at the forefront guiding this team and while it had it’s challenges, he said he wouldn’t want any other team behind him in this moment.

“Obviously, we’re a good softball team, but I don’t think you’ll find a better group of girls anywhere,” Jennings said. “At the end of the day, that’s more important than which color trophy we take home.”

Photos by Michael Lindsay