HVA Lady Hawks softball finding its way

At 2-5, Hardin Valley Academy’s softball team is still finding its way.

First-year coach Katie Browning said she is confident her girls are on the right path.

“I think we have a really great group of girls,” Browning said. “It’s a tough district. We’ve had games where we played great defense and games where our bats have come to life.

“We just haven’t had both of those show up (in the same game) yet. But I think we’re getting there.”

The Lady Hawks went 1-3 last week, starting with a 19-3 shellacking of Catholic at home on Monday. The game lasted but three innings because the mercy rule kicked in. 

Sophia Lepo got the win, pitching all three innings. Addison Ragland drove in four for HVA, and Olivia Neeley had three RBI. Gracie Gray and Landry Huckaby each drove in two. 

“Our bats came to life for sure that night,” Browning said. “We had some good defensive plays in the game, too.”

Tuesday, March 29, HVA lost 11-0 to Farragut High School at home, making the Lady Hawks one of numerous teams the Lady Admirals have beaten handily. 

HVA hung with Farragut early before the game got away later.

“I was really proud of our team,” Browning said. “We had some phenomenal defensive plays. Farragut’s a great team. I was really proud of our defense for staying in the game.”

Thursday, March 31, in Maryville, Hardin Valley fell 3-1 to the Lady Rebels in a pitcher’s duel. Natalie Nettles scored for HVA when an errant throw to third on her steal attempt allowed her to come around. Nettles had a late double but was stranded on the bases. 

“We got on the base several times,” Browning said. “We just couldn’t get that timely hit to get them in. We did well on defense. Proud of our girls on that game.”

Gray pitched a complete game against Maryville.

HVA wrapped up the week with a 17-15 slugfest loss to Central High School on the road. The game had numerous lead changes.

Gray had six RBI; Ragland had three; and Ayla Perry had two for HVA. Down 17-12 after six, the Lady Hawks scored three in the top of the seventh. 

“We struggled; we had some girls in new positions,” Browning said. “Trying to find a rotation. Definitely a battle of the bats. We just couldn’t capitalize at the end. I think this team can go far.

“We just haven’t reached our true potential yet.”