Katelyne Loudy broke the game open with a second-inning grand slam, the first of her two homers, and the Lady Patriots crushed their longtime nemesis. They finally solved Unicoi County with a shocking 13-1 win on East’s home field in the winners’ bracket final of the District 1-AA softball tournament.
“This was probably the game of my life,” said Loudy. “It was a big world breaker right here. This was the biggest game of Sullivan East history. This sets the line for us. I think this is the year for us to go to state.”
East (26-13) not only advanced to the championship round on Wednesday, it also earned its first-ever berth in the Region 1-AA tournament, which begins next week.
“Since we’ve been in double A, we’ve never been to the region and we’ve never beaten Unicoi County,” said East head coach Michael Forrester. “I think it’s the best softball game Sullivan East has probably ever played. I can’t describe what it means to our program.”
The Lady Blue Devils fell to 32-9 on the season and will play in the losers’ bracket final Tuesday at 7 p.m.
LOUDY IN GRAND FASHION
East’s duo of Chelsea Sams (20) and Kylee Wolfe (17) have combined for 37 homers on the season, but it was Loudy’s bat that was the loudest in this game.
“When I first got in the box, I was like, ‘God, please give me this, I’ve got to help out the team and I’m really wanting this game,’ “ said Loudy. “I was really focused on getting a base hit. I wasn’t expecting to try to hit a grand slam.”
Her blast went over the left field fence. She finished 2 for 5 with five runs batted in.
“Katelyne has been a superstar in the district tournament for three years,” said Forrester. “She has been an amazing player, and that didn’t change tonight. That was crazy.”
ANOTHER BIG HIT
After Loudy’s slam, Cayden Bawgus delivered a two-out two-run double to push East’s advantage to 6-0.
Also for East, Sams was 3 for 4 with a homer, three runs and three RBIs. Wolfe finished 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBIs. Bawgus, Jillian Shackelford and Scott each added two hits as East banged out 15 as a team.
IN THE CIRCLE
Another big factor in the game was the starting pitching performance of freshman Hannah Scott. She kept the Lady Blue Devils off balance throughout the game, pitching a complete game.
“That was crazy,” said Forrester. “We thought we had something there. I was hoping to get her through three or four innings. She was unbelievable.”
Scott allowed just five hits and one run, which was unearned. She walked four and struck out five.
Forrester laughed and said, “That makes me look dumb. It’s only the third time she’s pitched all year.”
Unicoi County was led at the plate by Halie Hawkins, who totaled two hits.
Elizabethton 18, Sullivan Central 4
Maggie Johnson had a monster day offensively with three hits, three RBIs and four runs as the Lady Cyclones blew away the Lady Cougars.
Three other Elizabethton players — Kira Dillard, Madisun Pritchard and Marley Wagner — drove in three runs and scored twice each.
Kaylen Shell had two RBIs and three runs scored, while Maddie O’Quinn was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Hannah Edwards and Kallista Deprimo both scored twice.
Pritchard picked up the win with O’Quinn hurling the final 1 2/3 innings.
Alexa Chandler went 2-for-2 to lead Central.