ELIZABETHTON — Unicoi County secured the Three Rivers Conference softball regular-season championship and won for the 30th time this season with an 11-5 victory over Elizabethton on Thursday.
Unicoi County has an 8-0 conference record with an overall mark of 30-6. Elizaabethton finished the conference slate at 6-4 which keeps it second in the standings. The Lady Cyclones’ overall record fell to 13-7.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game, they’re all tough,” Unicoi County head coach Grady Lingerfelt said. “I knew we were in for a battle when we come over here. I don’t think we came over ready to play early, but eventually we got better.”
The Lady Blue Devils were able to pick up the victory thanks in part to freshman Tiffany Wright, who went 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Wright went hitless in her first two plate appearances, but she capped a four-run fifth with a long three-run home run out to left.
“I was just hoping; I had my eyes closed,” Wright said about her approach at the plate.
Wright had RBI singles in each of the next two innings to help break the game open.
“You can not say enough about Taylor Wright coming in there in her first start,” Lingerfelt said. “She played a really good game.”
In addition Shea Pearson was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Chelsey Gardnerand and Kaylee Nicholson were both 3-for-5 and Tiffany Laughren was 2-for-5 and scored three times. Bethany Gibson added a 2-for-3 effort as Unicoi County pounded out 19 hits in 38 at bats. Only one starter did not record a hit.
The teams each scored a run apiece in the opening inning. Unicoi County then posted four runs in the fifth, but the Lady Cyclones matched to tie the score 5-5 after 5. The Lady Devils then reeled off six unanswered scores, two in the sixth with four insurance runs in the final inning.
When the final tie was broken Unicoi County pitcher Kacy Silvers then retired the side in the sixth and got the first two outs in the seventh. Elizabethton tried to rally with backto-back singles from Reazyn DeMoss and Caley Hodge. A wild pitch moved those two up 60 feet, but a pop up to second ended the contest.
Silvers scattered the seven hits and mixed in four strikeouts. She did hit three foes and walked two others.
Elizabethton had seven players each produce a hit. The first Lady Cyclone hit came in the fourth inning from Casey Jones when she placed a single between the circle and second base.
Lindsey Cunningham scored twice with a walk and RBI double. From the circle she gave up the 11 runs, 10 earned, on 19 hits. She walked two and struck out one.
“Can’t complain, we made some errors in places we shouldn’t have,” Elizabethton head coach Leanna Click said. “They hit the ball, we hit it too. We didn’t pull through in the seventh. We played with them and never quit. It was a good game.”