OAKDALE — Softball double-headers are not exactly unusual, especially late in the season when schedules have been shuffled by mother nature.
But Oneida's two-game afternoon to close out the regular season Thursday was quite unusual: games in separate towns, against separate schools.
A rainy start to the final week of the season was to blame. Monday's game at Oakdale was postponed until Thursday due to storms. Then, Wednesday's game at Oliver Springs — postponed from earlier in the season due to inclement weather — was again postponed due to persistent rainfall.
With the first round of the District 4-A tournament set for Friday and bracket seeding on the line, Oneida had no choice but to play both games. So play both they did — hopping a bus to Oakdale for an early 2:30 p.m. start, then jumping back on the bus for a drive to Roane County to face Oliver Springs.
Needing two wins to move up to second place in the district standings and earn a first round tournament bye, the Lady Indians captured one of two, defeating Oakdale 13-3 before falling 8-0 at Oliver Springs.
The result is a third place regular season finish for Oneida, which will host No. 6 Oakdale tomorrow at Bear Creek to begin tournament play. That is unusual in itself; tomorrow's game will mark the third time in four days the two teams have faced off.
First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.
Fans will get their money's worth at Bear Creek Friday. Scott and Oneida will square off in the final soccer game of the regular season at the sports complex, with third place in District 4-A/AA on the line.
That game has also been twice delayed. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, it was bumped to Thursday because of rain. The weather at Bear Creek Thursday was perfect, and both teams showed up expecting a game, but a scheduling mixup left referees scheduled to officiate the game in northwest Knox County at Halls High School instead, prompting the postponement until Friday. Kickoff of Friday's game is set for 6 p.m.
In Thursday's win over Oakdale, the Lady Indians scored five runs in the top of the first inning, and the game was never in question.
Jenna Bridges and Presley West led off with walks, and both scored, as did Tesla Huling and Amanda May. Jasmine Jones had a two-run single, and went on to score herself, while Shyann West had a two-run single as well.
Kennedi Reed had an RBI triple in the third to score Presley West, then scored herself on a sacrifice RBI by Micah Stephens, as the Lady Indians went ahead 7-0.
Two more runs in the third — Kassidy West scored on a sacrifice RBI by Shyann West after hitting a triple, and Reed had another RBI triple to score Presley West — left Oneida with a 9-0 lead.
Oakdale scored three runs in the bottom of the third, but Oneida bested that effort with four more runs in the top of the sixth. An RBI single by Kassidy West scored Jones, while an RBI single by Shyann West scored May, and both Wests scored as well.
Presley West earned the win for Oneida on the mound.
The game at Oliver Springs did not go as well for Oneida. The Lady Bobcats scored two runs in the bottom of the first, added two more in their half of the fourth and then took command with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. The win wrapped up an undefeated district record for Oliver Springs, which had already secured the regular season district championship.