ELIZABETHTON — Elizabethton was up to play the role of spoiler, but Cheyenne Dellfs stole the show.
Unicoi County (32-5) rode the momentum behind the senior’s highlight-reel worthy catch in the top of the sixth inning in a 1-1 tie to come out top with a 2-1 win in the District 1-AA championship game over the Lady Cyclones.
The win marks the 15th district title for the Lady Devils in the past 16 years.
With one-out, Elizabethton (22-12) got a runner aboard on first with a Reazyn DeMoss base hit when Danielle Loving hit a shot to right field where Delffs made a running catch to get a second out and hold the runner.
“I knew if I didn’t catch it, they could score,” said Delffs, who was named the tournament MVP. “Our defense made plays throughout the night.”
Head coach Grady Lingerfelt sung the praise of his senior outfielder and entire defensive performance.
“It was a big play,” he added. “If we miss it, it’s a run for Elizabethton. Our girls really played good defense tonight”
A breather before regionals also works out well, added the skipper.
“It’s good to get an extra day of practice,” he said. “It was a great win tonight.”
The Lady Devils strung together eight hits in the game but the key moment came in the bottom of the sixth when Taylor Wright led off the inning with a single to right field.
EHS would score outs on the next two batters when Brooke Strother took a shot to center field to drive in the go-ahead run on a double.
“I felt good at the plate,” Strother said. “It just feels good to be district champs.”
The Lady Cyclones entered the contest with a 7-0 win in the loser’s bracket final to pick up a bid to the upcoming regional tournament.
Summer Reece would put Elizabethton on the board in the top of the fourth with a RBI single that drove in Loving.
The defense kept the Devils at bay in the early going, including a pair of key throw-outs from center fielder Ashleigh Dykes.
“She made some big plays out there,” Lady Cyclones skipper LeAnne Click said. “You couldn’t ask for a better game. Our defense didn’t allow any errors and really backed up Maci (Elliot)”.
Elliot (1-1) picked up the start in the championship game and the sophomore did her job of keeping the Lady Devils bats silent in the early going.
“She’s got some good off-speed pitches,” Click added. “She pitched a good game for us.”
Taylor Wright would put the Devils into the tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with her 17th home run of the year.
Kaylee Nicholson (18-3) recorded the win for Unicoi County while scattering five hits with four strikeouts in a complete game effort.
“She pitched a good game,” Lingerfelt said of the junior.
Strother and Wright each added a pair of hits for the Lady Devils while the Cyclones were led by Madison Weaver’s two hits.
Elizabethton 7, Sullivan East 0
The game resumed from yesterday’s starting point and the Lady Cyclones continued to pour on the runs.
Loving and Emily Dugger chipped in two RBI singles while Reece had an RBI of her own to tack on to the 2-0 lead the Cyclones had to start the game.
Lindsey Cunningham (21-10) picked up the win in the circle, tossing eight strikeouts in the shutout.