“I’ve been expecting this performance all year,” said Lady Warriors’ head coach Mike Dorsey after his team’s surprising 5-0 win over Elizabethton in the winners’ bracket semifinals of the District 1-AA softball tournament at Sullivan North on Friday.
Happy Valley advanced to play Unicoi County in Monday’s winners’ bracket final.
In other semifinal, Unicoi County pounded Sullivan East 17-0. In a losers’ bracket game, Johnson County thumped Sullivan North, 15-4.
Kaylee Street had a monster game for the Lady Warriors. She had an RBI double in the third inning for the only run her team would need. Then in the seventh inning, Street launched a three-run homer.
“She finally got a ball to go out,” said Dorsey. “She’s been close the last two games.”
Street, who finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs, said, “I didn’t know it was going out, but I was elated when I saw it happen.”
Kalee Johnson not only went 3 for 3 at the plate, she completely shut down Elizabethton’s hitters. She tossed a two-hitter with seven strikeouts.
Emily Whitaker added an RBI single for the Warriors.
Unicoi County 17, Sullivan East 0
When Unicoi’s players shook hands with Sullivan East after building a 10-run lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Lady Patriots weren’t ready to resign to the mercy rule.
So the teams went back to the field, and the Lady Blue Devils tacked on seven more runs. After East batted in the top of the sixth, the Lady Patriots ran up the white flag.
Unicoi (35-9) got a superb performance in the circle from Tiffany Laughren, who pitched like it was a 1-0 game. She went the distance, allowing one hit and one walk with five strikeouts.
As would be expected, Unicoi had plenty of offensive highlights:
— Brooke Strother was 4 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs.
— Kaylee Nicholson was 4 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs.
— Destinie Hayes hit a grand slam.
— Abby Hensley had a two-run homer and scored two runs.
— Grayson Goddard was 2 for 3 with two runs and a double.
— Tiffany Laughren was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
“I thought we hit the ball better today,” said Unicoi head coach Grady Lingerfelt. “That was not a bad little pitcher. I was pleased.”
After playing 37 games in April, the Lady Devils hadn’t played in four days.
“I think we got a little worn out, but the break was good, especially offensively,” said Nicholson.
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