GREENEVILLE — In a battle of the Devils, the ladies from Erwin had the last laugh.
Unicoi County (34-5) locked horns against the Lady Greene Devils and scored a 5-1 victory in the Region 1-AA softball championship game at Hardin Park on Wednesday.
The win allows the Lady Blue Devils to host Union County on Thursday for a state tournament bid. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Greeneville (25-6) will travel to play Gibbs on Friday.
“It was a big win,” Unicoi County coach Grady Lingerfelt said. “ We hit the ball better than I thought we would and our defense did well.”
Greeneville would get on the board in the bottom of the first inning with Jordan Fortel advancing home on a passed ball to give the Lady Greene Devils an early 1-0 advantage.
Unicoi wasted no time to respond.
Back-to-back home runs from Ashley Starnes and Kaylee Nicholson gave the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead in the top of the second.
“I just came in with confidence and saw the ball well,” Starnes said, who hit her seventh home run of the year. “Our defense played great and I thought Kaylee and Tiffany (Laughren) did well pitching.”
Nicholson (19-3) picked up the win in the circle allowing one unearned run in 51â„2 innings. The junior’s home run was the first of the regular season.
Laughren came in in the final innings to round out the pitching activities.
“I thought they both pitched great,” Lingerfelt said. “We brought Tiff in late to let them see a change and she responded well.”
Cheyenne Delffs had a two-run double in the fourth while Taylor Wright added an insurance run in the seventh inning.
Greeneville will be ready, come Friday, according to head coach Bob Fortel.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we wanted to,” he said. “We started getting hits in late, couple here and there, and maybe it’s a different outcome.
“You can’t take off against a team like Unicoi. They have such a storied program so we’ll look to bounce back.”
Fortel and Sarah Lutrell paced the Greene Devils with two hits each.