Hardin Valley fall on decision 1-0

Hardin Valley — Despite seeing her team win 10 of its first 14 games Hardin Valley Academy softball coach Whitney Hickam-Cruze is far from satisfied.

“We haven’t played our best softball,” Hickam-Cruze said after the Hawks outlasted Anderson County 2-0 at home Friday night. “We need to hit our stride.

“This week will be big for us and we need to really hit our stride this week because we’re going full force into our district schedule. We’ve only played two district games and everybody else has played at least three or four.”

Hardin Valley (10-4 overall, 1-1 in District 4-AAA), which won the district tournament as the fifth seed in 2015, has managed to split its first two league games. The Hawks came up on the short end of a 1-0 decision in a home district game against Maryville on Wednesday, March 30.

In that game, HVA managed just two hits off Red Rebels pitcher Caylan Arnold, who finished the contest with 18 strikeouts. She walked one and surrendered hits to Haley Cloud and Sydney Dukes.

Arnold outdueled Hawks ace Kaleigh Wynne, who had 13 strikeouts and one walk. She gave up a triple to Kallie Singleton.

Singleton scored the game’s only run when she came home on a single by Saylor Johnson.

“That was a pitchers’ duel and that’s what you expect when you have a game with those two girls,” Hickam-Cruze said. “District 4-AAA is tough and when we get into our district games, we’re going to see the teams who can hit the ball really well.

HVA, which opened district play with a 13-0 win over Lenoir City on March22, stepped out of league play Friday night.

Against the Mavericks, Hardin Valley got four hits, including a two-run homer by Wynne.

“Kaleigh is doing her thing. She’s doing her thing on the mound and at the plate,” Hickam-Cruze said. “We’re not hitting the ball real well right now. Kaleigh had a two-run homer against Anderson County and that was about it.

“Anderson County has a good ballclub and they’ll definitely make some noise [in District 3-AAA].”

Hickam-Cruze said that her team was lackluster against the Mavericks.

“I think when you have an emotional game like we did against Maryville, it takes something out of you,” she said. “We had an emotional game against Maryville and we invested and put so much into it.

“Then we came out flat against Anderson County.”