Junior catcher Katlyn Weaver smacked a two-run homer and senior pitcher Corie Schuettler struck out 11 batters as the Rangers trounced North Greene 6-1 at Ronnie Hicks Field.
“My curveball was working really, really well,” Schuettler said. “And my screwball was working whenever they started creeping up on the plate and I threw it in on them. We knew we were going to have to have that outside corner to win. Katlyn's home run was the biggest at-bat of the game.”
In doing so, Unaka (25-10) will host the runner-up of Region 2 on Monday evening with a start time to be determined.
“They played real good,” head coach Kenneth Chambers said of his Lady Rangers. “They have stayed pumped up and they are excited. They want to keep on winning and keep on playing. If they keep playing like they have and Corie pitches like she has been, I think we got a good chance to keep going.”
Weaver got Unaka on the scoreboard following a lead-off single from senior center fielder Sarah Tipton by crushing the first pitch she saw from North Greene starter Megan Whaley on a rope over the left-field fence.
“We knew we had to come out and hit the ball well,” Weaver said. “She was trying to go outside so we crowded the plate. She tried to throw a screwball past me and it didn't. I'm just really proud of us and we are going to keep going.”
The Rangers scored single runs in the second and third to build a 4-0 cushion as Schuettler was dealing. She had a perfect game going for two and two thirds, then nine hitter Katie Roberts hit a single back through the circle.
Schuettler settled down and whiffed Ali Painter to end the threat.
In the Unaka second, Sydney Markland singled with two away and Taylor Shanks drew a walk. Sarah Tipton hit a grounder to shortstop, where Breezy Savage tried to get the force at third but the throw got away from Painter — enabling Markland to scamper home with the third run for the Rangers.
Markland finished 3-for-3 at the dish and scored a pair of runs. She was proud of her effort on the day, saying: “We are just really excited and want to make it back to state. I just wanted to do all I could for my team. I said to myself when I stepped in the box that I am going to hit it every time, and I was determined to hit the ball.”
Sophomore Savannah Tipton brought home the fourth run in the last of the third with a ground ball that plated Erika Potter for a 4-0 lead. The Lady Huskies (10-14) got on the board in the fifth on a ground-ball out that scored Katelynn Rector from third.
The Rangers plated two insurance runs in the last of the sixth when Whaley plunked Weaver and Potter back-to-back with runners already at first and second to force in a run. A walk to Lilly Kiser plated another.