Lady Vols rally for return to World Series

Lady Vols going back to WCWS after 5-3 victory

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics
The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team celebrates a 5-3 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Lee Stadium. With the win, Tennessee advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Photo by Wade Rackley

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team celebrates a 5-3 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Lee Stadium. With the win, Tennessee advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics
The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team celebrates a 5-3 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Lee Stadium. With the win, Tennessee advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Photo by Wade Rackley

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics The Tennessee Lady Vols softball team celebrates a 5-3 victory over Alabama on Saturday at Lee Stadium. With the win, Tennessee advances to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Saturday afternoon started bad and ended beautifully for Tennessee’s softball team.

The Lady Vols waved to their fans as sunset fell. Rocky Top was blaring over the public-address system.

Tennessee (49-10) celebrated a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over Alabama (45-15) before a sellout crowd of 1,650 fans in an NCAA Super Regional at Lee Stadium — a victory that puts the Lady Vols back in Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.

“It means everything,” UT third baseman Raven Chavanne said. “It’s not easy. Like Ralph (Weekly, UT co-head coach) said, ‘They’re the defending champion, and they’re not going back.’ So to be lucky enough to go three out of four years, I mean, we’re just really blessed to be able to do that.”

The Lady Vols’ victory over Alabama avoided a third game in the best-of-three series after Tennessee beat the Tide 3-2 Friday.

It was a shaky start for UT.

Alabama’s Kayla Braud led off the bottom of the first with a single off Ivy Renfroe and went to second when left fielder Rainey Gaffin’s throw was off target for an error. Holly Fichtner later hit a two-run single.

In the Crimson Tide’s second, Danae Hays reached on an error by shortstop Madison Shipman. Andrea Hawkins and Braud singled, loading the bases.

Haylie McCleney hit a pop to center fielder Tory Lewis, who dropped the ball, but threw to second for the force out. However, Hays scored for a 3-0 lead.

“We started out very uncharacteristically, not like Tennessee,” Weekly said. “Even the fans were hollering, ‘Fundamentals, fundamentals.’ ”

UT rallied in the third. Lewis singled, Chavanne reached on an error, and Lauren Gibson singled.

Shipman’s sacrifice fly made it 3-1.

UT’s Kat Dotson and Melissa Brown led off the fourth with singles. Gaffin hit a sacrifice fly and Chavanne an RBI single. It was 3-all.

Shipman led off the fifth with a double and scored on Dotson’s sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead.

“You could definitely feel the momentum shift, and we knew when it did, we had to keep it,” Chavanne said. “We didn’t want Alabama to get up again.”

It didn’t — thanks to the surprise relief effort by Cheyanne Tarango, the starting designated player, in the fifth.

She entered after Renfroe walked Braud and threw the first two pitches to McCleney in the dirt.

Enter Tarango — instead of Ellen Renfroe. Tarango hadn’t pitched in the postseason.

“We didn’t want it to go two, but with that great of an opponent, we figured the game could go two, and Ellen would give us an advantage, when we had warmed up Chey,” Weekly said. “But with those two kids on base, I was stalling a little bit to figure out what to do.”

Tarango, throwing her off-speed pitches, finished walking McCleney, but ended the fifth with a fly ball, popup and line drive to Shipman.

Ellen Renfroe entered starting the sixth, hit the first batter, and retired the next three.

UT added a run in the seventh on Brown’s RBI single.

Ellen Renfroe pitched around a single in the seventh, and soon the Lady Vols were celebrating.

“These kids are who did it and all the credit goes to them,” Weekly said.

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 52

mcdevitt#229126 writes:

Way to go ladies!

orange_eVOLution writes:

Awesome!

SummittsCourt writes:

Congrats to the LADY VOLS!!! This team is special and this is their year!

In 5 games the pitching has held their opponents to a total of 5 runs (all by bama). In doing so, they held two big time offenses (bama & NCSt.) in check.

Can't wait until next weekend!

volman2008 writes:

Way to go lady vols.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Always great to send the defending champs home. Even greater to send Alabama home. Way to go Lady Vols.

tulelakevol writes:

Always fun beating Alabama. Always.

voloffaith writes:

Chomperettes are next in line.....Tough task,but all things are possible.....today Lady Vols overcame two errors they don't normally make alongside the deficit and came back to win!! Congrats!! Go cheer up Oklahomans who are saddened by their loved ones who lost homes and some their lives in the massive tornado. Be a ray of Jesus love as many of our players represent Him first then our proud university. Also thank a veteran or two or three or.....this weekend of Memories......

kmay1125 writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That,s like tide fans as well....lack of class. The US could cut Alabama from the union and sell them to South America and i could care less.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Tidettes go down!!

vol98champ writes:

I'm worried about Ivy. After she threw that bad pitch and checked her finger, she threw several dying quails. Hope it can be fixed before next week. LOL at Bama's tears. 5 out of 6 this year. HOW SWEET IT IS!!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Chomperettes are next in line.....Tough task,but all things are possible.....today Lady Vols overcame two errors they don't normally make alongside the deficit and came back to win!! Congrats!! Go cheer up Oklahomans who are saddened by their loved ones who lost homes and some their lives in the massive tornado. Be a ray of Jesus love as many of our players represent Him first then our proud university. Also thank a veteran or two or three or.....this weekend of Memories......

Did you notice the Lady Vols praying in the dugout during the last inning? In fact, it was the second time they showed players huddle praying together. I thought that was awesome!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to vol98champ:

I'm worried about Ivy. After she threw that bad pitch and checked her finger, she threw several dying quails. Hope it can be fixed before next week. LOL at Bama's tears. 5 out of 6 this year. HOW SWEET IT IS!!

I believe it was a blister which should be ok by next weekend. Winning today gives UT an extra day of rest that UF want have.

voloffaith writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Did you notice the Lady Vols praying in the dugout during the last inning? In fact, it was the second time they showed players huddle praying together. I thought that was awesome!

do you think the aClU will get mad? I don't care as Freedom of speech...also I betcha that it wasn't mandatory participation......May these young ladies never forget to go the Father in the good or the bad. "In everything give thanks."

700Nitro writes:

in response to kmay1125:

That,s like tide fans as well....lack of class. The US could cut Alabama from the union and sell them to South America and i could care less.

It's obvious that Bama's success in football against your team caused you look for such things.It's interesting that you would choose to post it and reveal it for everyone to see.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor worried now some crazed bammer will pour Round-up on the "Rock".
Bones never lie.

GOJO writes:

Glad they go all those errors out of their system early in the game.

voloffaith writes:

in response to 700Nitro:

It's obvious that Bama's success in football against your team caused you look for such things.It's interesting that you would choose to post it and reveal it for everyone to see.

And your comment on the game? Did Nitro blow things out of proportion? Ignore the comments that are not on topic and out in left field. Comment on the topic somewhere in your post...ok....Again, Congrats Lady Vols for taking out the the tuskettes!! Now for the chomperettes!! Tough billing regardless of who we play from here on. Good pitchers and hitters so A game at all times. Play like no tomorrow even though double elimination.

Doves writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor worried now some crazed bammer will pour Round-up on the "Rock".
Bones never lie.

LOL!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Really proud of the Lady Vols. The bottom half of the batting order stood tall. Giving up a 3-0 lead, not accepting that, and battling back to win.

Alabama is no slouch, and it would have been very interesting......the 3rd game, had they won.

I loved the Bama batter pointing her bat at the Lady Vol pitcher, sort of like Rocky Colavito used to do, even with 2 strikes on her. She wasn't going to bunt.

Now, the games aren't played in swamp land, so IMO we have a real shot at the lizards.

While the top of the order didn't get a lot of hits, the bottom half was awesone. Really proud of this team.........taking 4 out of 5 from Bama this year.

They do have a real chance of making some noise in the Series !

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor worried now some crazed bammer will pour Round-up on the "Rock".
Bones never lie.

Too funny..

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to kmay1125:

That,s like tide fans as well....lack of class. The US could cut Alabama from the union and sell them to South America and i could care less.

How long did it take for you to make perfect your stupidity?

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to voloffaith:

do you think the aClU will get mad? I don't care as Freedom of speech...also I betcha that it wasn't mandatory participation......May these young ladies never forget to go the Father in the good or the bad. "In everything give thanks."

I did notice that the first time the camera's showed the Lady Vols praying the commentator said they were having a close conversation. I guess the PC espn couldn't say they were praying.

knoxknothead writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

iam a diehard vol fan that batched about every pitch that went against them but I think the l tide players were letting the ladies celebrate before they lined up to shake hands

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's time for you to move on. There are no slap hitters on this years team, but that doesn't mean they want have them in the future.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yes I am so glad that the Weeklys followed your advice

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

Really proud of the Lady Vols. The bottom half of the batting order stood tall. Giving up a 3-0 lead, not accepting that, and battling back to win.

Alabama is no slouch, and it would have been very interesting......the 3rd game, had they won.

I loved the Bama batter pointing her bat at the Lady Vol pitcher, sort of like Rocky Colavito used to do, even with 2 strikes on her. She wasn't going to bunt.

Now, the games aren't played in swamp land, so IMO we have a real shot at the lizards.

While the top of the order didn't get a lot of hits, the bottom half was awesone. Really proud of this team.........taking 4 out of 5 from Bama this year.

They do have a real chance of making some noise in the Series !

Speaking of the lizards, UAB gift wrapped them the game today. Maybe tomorrow will be a different story.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Listen, you immature little kid. Stop showing how little you know about sports, idiot.

When Vol fans are happy about the great win, here you are, predictably showing how infantile you are. You and your little 'slap hitting' hangup, plus soon to follow comments about Dave Hart.

You and your valuable strategy really had a lot to do with the Lady Vols victory. Grow up you little brat.......and just enjoy your short stay this time around.

In between showing how little you do know, try putting down Ariz State, Florida, Michigan, etc thinking they don't utilize slap hitting also.

It is part of the game for all teams......obviously not part of YOUR game.
Just concentrate on trying to grow up, and hanging out with your 'partner.'

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

oh good grief, here we go again

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor worried now some crazed bammer will pour Round-up on the "Rock".
Bones never lie.

Now THAT is funny, Bones!

volposter writes:

We only got back in time for the last inning. Where can we find the replay (or highlights)?

volposter writes:

in response to volposter:

We only got back in time for the last inning. Where can we find the replay (or highlights)?

Finally found highlights by drilling down on the UTSports.com site

Stepchild_nFL writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Chomperettes are next in line.....Tough task,but all things are possible.....today Lady Vols overcame two errors they don't normally make alongside the deficit and came back to win!! Congrats!! Go cheer up Oklahomans who are saddened by their loved ones who lost homes and some their lives in the massive tornado. Be a ray of Jesus love as many of our players represent Him first then our proud university. Also thank a veteran or two or three or.....this weekend of Memories......

Doesn't FL have to win another game first against UAB on Sunday?

tovolny writes:

Way to go!..BUT, be cool in the field. Swing at anything that is close to being a strike. I am proud of the ladies.

volinlebanon writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor worried now some crazed bammer will pour Round-up on the "Rock".
Bones never lie.

As usual Doc you made me laugh after a hard day/night at work. thanks!! congrats ladies,win it all! Go Vols!!!

papavol writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

wow dude, get a life.

ACWLY writes:

Couldn't be prouder! This team is what our University sports program is all about, hard work and team play... This has been a great team to cheer for and WOW! we are going to the WCWS!!! Can't wait!

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Next week comes down to executing the basics, pitching, hitting and defense. We will need to have all three working at the same time to reach our ultimate goal. It can be done but it won't be easy. GOOD LUCK LADIES !!!!!!

vol98champ writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Did you notice the Lady Vols praying in the dugout during the last inning? In fact, it was the second time they showed players huddle praying together. I thought that was awesome!

I'm sure God doesn't hate Bama near as much as I do and certainly doesn't care who wins a softball game, but I'll take these great ladies over the foul mouths so prevalent in today's society any day.
Hope you are right about Ivy. The Renfroe's make me very proud to be a Tennessean.

dvhill100 writes:

UT football team, did you take notes?

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Congrats to the LADY VOLS!!! This team is special and this is their year!

In 5 games the pitching has held their opponents to a total of 5 runs (all by bama). In doing so, they held two big time offenses (bama & NCSt.) in check.

Can't wait until next weekend!

You were right about those commentators for espn. I usually don't pay much attention one way or another. I wish I had a dollar for every time they mentioned Bama was the defending champions. The funniest thing was when Bama was up 3-1 and one of them asked the Bama coach if he'd thought of adjustments for the second game. I think he was shocked. He knew that game was far from over, and said, "Uh, no." Wonder how they like us now?

VOLsince68 writes:

Way to go Lady VOLS!!!

Go get them in OK!!!

volfan1202 writes:

Lady vols softball... Zzzzzz Zzzzz

johnlg00 writes:

in response to cheetah-vol:

You were right about those commentators for espn. I usually don't pay much attention one way or another. I wish I had a dollar for every time they mentioned Bama was the defending champions. The funniest thing was when Bama was up 3-1 and one of them asked the Bama coach if he'd thought of adjustments for the second game. I think he was shocked. He knew that game was far from over, and said, "Uh, no." Wonder how they like us now?

In fairness to ESPN--words that seldom come off my keyboard--the key to the success of their national broadcast was to get as many college softball fans as possible to tune in(duh!). The main appeal to any fans not expressly pulling either for UT or Bama would be to see how last year's champ is faring this year. They repeat it often so anybody who just drops in on the game would know what was at stake. Yeah, it gets tiresome sometimes with the repetition, but there is a reason why they do it.

Gotta say those who allege some kind of NCAA conspiracy against the SEC might have a point. It seems that three of the top teams in the league and in the nation have been clustered in the brackets so that only one can make it to the championship round. I guess the NCAA softball officials aren't going to take SEC supremacy lying down the way the football side has. I'll get over my annoyance if our gals can put everybody else away!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volfan1202:

Lady vols softball... Zzzzzz Zzzzz

So why not just B'ZZZZZ off then. I'm only a casual fan of softball; I have no interest in it unless the Lady Vols are playing. Some people care a LOT about it, seldom see much written about it, and no doubt feel that the current level of the program is one of the bright spots in the currently rather bleak UT sports landscape. You are welcome not to share in that feeling, but it makes you seem small to go out of your way to disrespect the interest and satisfaction others may feel in it.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

in response to volfan1202:

Lady vols softball... Zzzzzz Zzzzz

Does the 1202 mean you were a volfan for 1202 seconds? Continue sleeping and you will make 95% of the people on this site happy.

knoxknothead writes:

in response to snowpeapod#263184:

Does the 1202 mean you were a volfan for 1202 seconds? Continue sleeping and you will make 95% of the people on this site happy.

SHOULD BE VOLFAN 0000

murrayvol writes:

Way to go girls. 3 out of 4 is pretty damn good for a senior career. Not to mention we need something to cheer about these days.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Hacaf1965:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So you change your moniker from billythekid to HaCaf165. Think you might not be recognized?

BleednUrnge81 writes:

Btw the lady vols aren't playing the gators yet, the gators are playing UAB in the second game of the super regional now. its on espn.com if anyone cares. go vols and lady vols. can't waitfor football season

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's funny how you pick your spots..I don't remember you being such a lady gator fan?? In fact I distinctly remember you spouting women's sports are irrelevant and UT fans were just desperate to be happy about success with the lady vols programs. At any rate, UT is in and they'll play hard and make us proud, and if successful you'll be MIA..PS: You got any more changes in opinion we need to remember??

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