Wherry powers U-High past Unaka in 1-A softball

Jeff Birchfield • May 6, 2014 at 11:09 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Barrett Wherry started it off with a bunt single and the hits kept coming for University High on Tuesday night.

Wherry, who actually bunted her first two at-bats, ended 4-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Lady Bucs to an 18-1, five-inning win over homestanding Unaka in the winners’ bracket final of the District 1-A softball tournament at Ronnie Hicks Field.

“Our last game, we didn’t hit very well,” Wherry said after leading UH’s 18-hit attack. “I actually chose to bunt both times. He never gave me the sign to, but I love bunting because I love running them out.”

After she quit bunting, Wherry broke out of a recent slump with by driving a pair of two-run doubles to center field.

If the offense wasn’t enough, UH pitcher Tanner Horton kept confounding the Lady Rangers with her screwball. She gave up just two hits overall. University High (30-8) was at full strength after Horton and catcher Belle Bright each missed recent games with injuries.

Horton aided her cause, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while Bright was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.

“Having them back, that’s huge,” UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. “You’re talking about our pitcher and our No. 3 batter and catcher. Any time we’ve got those back, that’s a huge thing for us. Then, the way we hit..... The other night against North Greene, we only had one hit in seven innings.”

Horton was certainly glad to be back in the circle after being slowed by a severe ankle sprain. University High took a 2-1 lead in the first, but she had plenty of breathing room after the Lady Bucs scored nine runs in the second inning and six runs in the third inning.

“It’s great, especially to be coming back from such a nasty sprain,” Horton said. “It’s a work in progress and I’m trying to strengthen it at the moment to where it needs to be. But, I love to play softball and it’s just great to be back.”

In addition to the aforementioned, there were plenty of offensive stars for the Lady Bucs.

Taylor Treadway, Mollee Cohee, Madi Freeman and Miranda Honeycutt all finished with two hits, while Ari Ramsaran and Sarah Higginbotham each batted in a run.

Unaka lead-off Lexi Perry scored the Lady Rangers’ only run in the first inning off a RBI single by Caitlyn Buckles.

The Lady Rangers (9-13) will face North Greene in today’s loser bracket final with the winner to advance and play University High in the championship round.

North Greene 10, South Greene 2

ELIZABETHTON — Shayna Hartman went 3-4 to lead the Lady Huskies in Tuesday’s other 1-A game.

Mendy McNeese, Talley Bailey, Julie Penley and Amethyst Crawford all had two hits, while Anna Croft scored three runs. Bailey pitcked up the win, pitching six scorless ining after geving up two runs in the first.

For South Greene, Ginnie Collins went 2-for-3. Ashton Wykle reached base four times and scored one run.

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