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Lady Blue Devils fall short of state

Douglas Fritz • Updated May 20, 2018 at 8:29 AM

ERWIN — Kingston was tough at the top of its lineup, and that was the difference.

The top three hitters in the order combined to go 7 for 10, and one of those hits was a three-run homer off the bat of Meredith Garrett as the Yellow Jackets defeated Unicoi County 4-1 in a Class AA softball sectional contest at Lady Devils Diamond on Saturday.

It was a tough season-ending loss for Unicoi, which finished with a sparkling record of 38-10.

Kingston improved to 25-6 and moved into next week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. It will be the Yellow Jackets’ first trip since 2001.

“It wasn’t in the cards,” said Unicoi head coach Grady Lingerfelt. “They got enough hits to win the game, and they got the big one.”

Fateful inning

In the top of the third inning, after two strikeouts, Lenna Robinson singled and Casey Gaines followed with a double. Robinson might have scored on the play, but she tripped and fell between second and third.

It didn’t matter as Garrett stepped up to the plate and ripped a pitch over the left-center field fence for a 4-1 lead.

Neither team scored after Garrett’s blast. Garrett finished 2 for 3 with four RBIs. Gaines had three hits and scored twice while Robinson chipped in with two hits.

The rest of Kingston’s lineup was 1 for 17 with six strikeouts.

The start

Kingston got ahead early as Lawson drove in a run with an RBI single in the top of the first inning.

Unicoi responded in the bottom of the first. Sydney Miller reached on an infield single with two outs, and Tanya Chavez missed a home run by inches. The ball hit the top of the fence in right-center field. Miller scored from first base to make it 1-1.

Difference maker

Emily Workman was terrific in the circle for the Yellow Jackets. She went the distance, allowing just three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

The Lady Blue Devils’ hitters didn’t make a lot of hard contact.

“We got a report she wasn’t that fast, but she had some pretty good pop to it,” said Lingerfelt. “She’s a pretty good pitcher. They’re a pretty good team.”

Solid season

Lingerfelt said his players did a lot of good things this year.

“We lost this game, but we had a good year,” he said. “We won some games we probably shouldn’t have, but we lost some we shouldn’t have, too. All of the six seniors played, and all of them contributed different things this year.”

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