The lineup card for Ravenwood’s softball team will have a significant omission as the Raptors begin postseason play this week.
Brooke Robble, the District 11-AAA Most Valuable Player and the Raptors’ leading power hitter, suffered a freak, season-ending knee injury last week.
The final at-bat of her junior year was a game-winning two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning, in a 4-3 victory over Independence, which clinched the regular season district championship.
In the postgame celebration, Robble leaped up among teammates and landed wrong. She suffered ACL and meniscus tears in her left knee. Doctors say she needs surgery, which will be performed soon, and should expect six-nine month of rehabilitation.
She has taken a positive outlook.
“Things could be far worse,” Robble said. “While this injury is a personal setback, I am still alive, healthy, and I will recover. I am confident God has a plan and things will work out for the best.
“I love playing softball, it’s a huge part of my life.”
For now, though, she must be content to be a very interested spectator.
“It will be hard watching my teammates in the postseason and not being able to compete with them on the field, but accidents happen,” she said. “It’s a part of life.”
As the No. 1 seed, Ravenwood received a bye in the district tournament, which opens Monday at Fly Park in Franklin.
The Raptors, minus Robble, play at 6:30 p.m. against the winner of a 4:30 p.m. contest between Centennial and Franklin. Robble, normally the team’s third baseman, will be the team’s leading cheerleader on the bench.
“Our goal is to win state, that’s still our team goal,” she said. “With players like Ashley Byeke, Madison Zoeller, Kendall Diehl and Kaitlyn Queen, no one should count Ravenwood out.”
Robble batted .403, with a .582 slugging percentage and an incredible .438 on base percentage and was named the district MVP. Additionally, Queen won the Golden Glove award, and Byeke was named pitcher of the year in 11-AAA as the Raptors went unbeaten in the district for the second straight year.
Some of Robble’s season highlights are spectacular:
• She went 3-for-4 with four RBIs against highly touted pitcher Alex Banks before losing 8-7 in extra innings to nationally ranked Beech. Her RBI double tied the game.
• She went 2-for-3 off Ezell-Harding ace Christian Gable with two doubles off the wall.
• Against Lincoln County’s Tanner Sanders, a Lipscomb signee, she went 4-for-6, with a home run, double and two singles.
Already highly recruited, Robble appears to favor the University of Memphis. She has a U. of Memphis tag on her car.
For now, though, she remains focused on what’s left of Ravenwood’s season, which won’t include her name in the lineup.
“I still believe,” she said. “We will be just fine. Go Raptors, win state!”
• Baker gets wild card: Former Hillwood High tennis star and 2000 state singles champ Brian Baker has received a wild card into the French Open tournament later this month. Baker, who has battled injuries in recent years, was invited based on results at recent clay court Challenger events.
• Sharp pitcher: Overton ace right-hander Grant Sharp (7-0) pitched a one-hit shutout last week in a 9-0 win over Hunters Lane in the Bobcats’ District 12-AAA baseball tournament opener. The week before, he also pitched a one-hitter in a regular season clinching 1-0 win over Hillwood.
• Big rally: In a stunning one for the books game, Hillwood trailed Glencliff 9-0 after one inning in its District 12-AAA baseball tournament opener last Thursday. But the Toppers scored in every frame after that, capped by a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh to win the game 15-14.
• Burn gets hot: Thanks in good part to first-place throws by Walter Burn, the Franklin Road Academy boys easily won the DII-A Middle Region track team championship Saturday at the FRA track. Burn, an East Tennessee State University signee, won both the discus and shot put. St. Cecilia edged runner-up FRA 139-128 to win the girls team championship.
• DII Decathlon: The DII Middle Region pentathlon and decathlon events are Monday and Tuesday at Franklin Road Academy track, starting at 3:30 p.m. both days. Pentathlon finals are Monday, decathlon finals Tuesday.
• Soccer MVP: Shpend Rexhepi was named most outstanding player and Joe Schipani was coach of the year for District 12-AAA soccer champ Overton. Midfielder Christian Mona of McGavock was offensive MVP and goalkeeper Cesar Ramos of Antioch was defensive MVP.
• Region tennis: In the DII-AA Region individual tennis tournament in Chattanooga, Ensworth’s Hannah Kimbrough beat Harpeth Hall’s Caitlyn Casey 6-3, 6-3 to win the girls singles title, and Montgomery Bell Academy senior Palmer Campbell was runner-up in boys singles to Anderson Scarpa of Baylor. The top five finishers in singles/doubles qualified for the Spring Fling state May 24-25.
• Icon passes away: Howard Gamble, the legendary football and basketball coach at Franklin High, died Saturday at age 84 following complications from surgery. Gamble retired in 1992 after 42 years of teaching and coaching at the school. The football stadium is named in his honor.