ERWIN — Coming off its first loss of the season, Unicoi County was in no mood to play around.
The Lady Blue Devils scored five times in the bottom of the first inning, and eventually crunched Happy Valley 16-3 in a Three Rivers Conference softball game Tuesday at Lady Devils Diamond.
Unicoi improved to 3-0 in league play and 10-1 overall while Happy Valley fell to 2-2, 5-5.
By game's end Unicoi had totaled 18 hits, including a trio of homers and five doubles. And the Blue Devils did it without one of their top hitters, Tiffany Laughren, who missed the game with an illness.
“The Science Hill game woke them up a little bit,” said Blue Devils' head coach Grady Lingerfelt, whose team lost 4-3 in the championship game of the Nuclear Fuels Services tournament on Saturday. “I think we came out much more fired up, and more focused. We wanted to win a conference game.”
The Warriors made a couple of errors in the first inning, and RBI doubles by Cheyenne Delffs and Taylor Wright made it 2-0. Then Brooke Strother stepped to the plate and crunched a three-run homer.
“That was a big shot,” said Lingerfelt.
The Blue Devils added four more runs in the fourth inning to make it 9-0. Chelsey Gardner and Kaylee Nicholson had RBI singles, and Wright clubbed a two-run double. By the time Wright had launched a two-run homer in the sixth inning, she had produced four hits and five RBIs.
Wright said she felt like her last hit was leaving the park.
“I could just kind of feel it, the way it came off the bat,” said Wright.
Lingerfelt said Wright swings a mean stick.
“She's a hitter,” said Lingerfelt. “She just hits the ball hard.”
Wright said Unicoi was ready.
“It was pretty intense,” she said. “We showed how we could play.”
Gardner finished with four hits and two RBIs. Delffs cracked a three-run homer in the sixth inning, and finished with three hits and four RBIs. Strother had two hits with her three RBIs, and Grayson Goddard chipped in with two hits.
Nicholson (5-1) got the win in the circle. She allowed seven hits and three runs, and totaled seven strikeouts.
“She pitched a really good game, and mixed her pitches up well,” said Lingerfelt.
For Happy Valley, it was a game best forgotten.
“We weren't ready to play,” said Lady Warriors' head coach Mike Dorsey. “We weren't focused and didn't do anything right. It's the most disappointed I've been in the last three years.”
However, Dorsey said he expects improvement.
“We will learn from it,” he said. “We've got a better team than we showed.”
Kiara Coffey had an RBI single in the Warriors' three-run sixth inning.