ELIZABETHTON — Cheyenne Delffs helped Unicoi County make history, and the Lady Blue Devils crunched Elizabethton.
The Lady Blue Devils' right fielder crushed a two-run shot over the left-center field fence, giving her team a state-record 51 home runs for the season. The blast came in a 13-0 victory over the Lady Cyclones in the winners' bracket final of the District 1-AA softball tournament Monday at Elizabethton's field.
“I didn't know about the record until I came around third base and (coach) Grady (Lingerfelt) told me,” said Delffs, who has eight homers on the season.
Unicoi broke the mark set last season by Daniel Boone.
Lingerfelt said it was nice to get the record.
“We finally got the home run, now if Tiffany (Laughren) gets one more... ” said Lingerfelt of his sophomore slugger who is tied for the state individual record with 19. “If she doesn't, there's next year. She has to just keep swinging.”
Unicoi — which pounded out 20 hits against the Cyclones — improved to 33-5 and earned a berth in the regional tournament for the 19th consecutive season. The Lady Blue Devils will play in Wednesday's district championship at 5 p.m.
Elizabethton fell to 21-11 and will play in the losers' bracket final today at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Cyclones will face the winner of the 5 p.m. game between Happy Valley and Sullivan East, which stayed alive Monday with a 16-0 win over Sullivan North.
Delffs' home run came in the fourth inning and pushed Unicoi's lead to 6-0. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Devils scored four runs to potentially end the game on the mercy rule.
However, Elizabethton elected to keep playing, and Unicoi tacked on three more runs for a seven-run inning.
After the dust had settled, Chelsey Gardner finished with a 5-for-5 performance and scored three runs.
“She had a real good game,” said Lingerfelt. “She's swinging the bat and doing what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do.”
Delffs went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs. Kaylee Nicholson also totaled three hits while Ashley Starnes totaled two hits and three RBIs.
Brooke Strother also had three RBIs, and Jessica Presser added two hits.
Tiffany Laughren had two sharply hit doubles and was intentionally walked in her other two at-bats. Each time, Laughren was walked to load the bases, and clean-up hitter Taylor Wright — who has 16 homers on the season — hit an RBI single to right field on both occasions.
Laughren also went the distance in the circle. She allowed three hits in the second inning, but was nearly perfect in the other frames. She only allowed four baserunners in the game while walking none and striking out four.
“I thought she pitched well and kept them off-stride,” said Lingerfelt. “She did a really good job.”
Leading 1-0, Unicoi took charge in the third inning. Laughren led off with a double, and eventually scored on Starnes' single. Kaylee Nicholson followed with a line-drive double off the left field fence, and Brooke Strother made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly. Jessica Presser capped the rally with an RBI single.
Strother had a two-run double in the sixth inning.
Sullivan East 16, Sullivan North 0
Courtney Leonard tossed a three-hitter, and got plenty of offensive support — including a home run from Ashlyn Douglas.
Leonard struck out seven with no walks, and didn't allow a baserunner past second base.
Brittany Scott went 4 for 5 with four RBIs, four runs and four stolen bases for East (20-19).
Douglas was 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Ashlee Minor had two doubles while Leonard and Lexy Umbarger each totaled two hits. Madeline Standbridge had three RBIs.