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Blazer uses arm, glove, bat

Montanna Smith came up big for the Valley View Lady Blazers in the sixth inning on Saturday.

The senior pitcher made the tag on White Hall's Henley Tucker at third base in the top of the sixth and had the go-ahead single in the bottom of the inning to help the Lady Blazers defeat the Lady Bulldogs 3-2 in the Class 5A state softball tournament quarterfinals at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

Valley View (23-6), the No. 1 seed from the 5A-East Conference, will play Greenbrier at 2:30 p.m. Monday in the semifinals.

The game was tied at 2-2 in the top of the sixth when Tucker walked with two outs. Sam Jackson followed with a single to left field. Tucker attempted to advance to third base and ended up in a rundown between second and third. Smith applied the tag on Tucker at third base to end the inning and White Hall's threat. White Hall would have had runners on first and second with two outs.

"I just knew I had to do what I had to do to win," Smith said. "I saw she was running to third, so I better get there. We've been practicing that a lot this year. I'm glad we were finally able to get in a rundown."

Smith then helped her team out with her bat in the bottom of the sixth.

Katie Dreiling lead off with a triple and Smith's infield single drove her in for a 3-2 lead. Smith struck out two batters in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.

Smith struck out 8 in 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits.

"She's a gamer," Valley View Coach BJ Zipfel said. "She's been doing this for us for 4 years. There's nothing she hasn't seen out there. We have total confidence in her."

Valley View took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Alye Freeman was hit by a pitch by White Hall's Kirsten Wallace to lead off the inning. Allie Whitlock laid down a bunt in front of home plate, but White Hall catcher Taylor Akins' throw sailed past first baseman Camryn Williams into the right field corner. Both Freeman and Whitlock scored.

White Hall, the No. 2 seed from the 5A-South, tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the second. Tucker reached on a one-out infield single and scored on Wallace's triple to pull the Lady Bulldogs within 2-1. The next batter, Taylor Akins, tied the game at 2-2 with an infield single.

White Hall (18-15-1) outhit Valley View 6-5 but did not score again.

"We just let them hang around," Lady Bulldogs Coach Mark Akins said. "With a pitcher like Montanna, you can't let a team like that hang around. We just didn't get the hits when we needed to have them."

Sports on 05/14/2017

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