Griffith shut down Elizabethton, firing a two-hitter, and Unicoi County scored six times in the second inning en route to an 8-0 victory in the District 1-AA softball tournament’s losers’ bracket final.
Unicoi County improved to 33-9 and will face Sullivan East on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Blue Devils need to win twice to win the title. Both teams have already qualified for next week’s Region 1-AA tournament.
Griffith was cruising along, having retired the first nine batters she faced. Elizabethton’s Maddie Johnson broke up the no-hitter with a bloop over Griffith’s head to lead off the fourth inning. The ball landed in the dirt behind the pitcher’s circle and spun into the ground like a golf ball.
“I didn’t read it right and I got a little mad,” Griffith said. “It was right over my head and I’m not fast. We all know that.”
The Lady Blue Devils did all the scoring they needed with a six-run second inning, keyed by Halie Hawkins’ two-run double.
Griffith made it stand.
Unicoi County coach Grady Lingerfelt left the game in the third inning when he became ill in the third-base coaching box. He was back in action three innings later.
“I think I ate something that reallly upset me,” he said. “It was bad, whatever it was.”
Kiley Bennett had three of the Blue Devils’ 10 hits and reached base in all four of her plate appearances.
Chloe Powers had two hits, including an RBI single in the sixth inning. Hawkins had two doubles and Griffith added a run-scoring single in the big second inning.
Elizabethton had advanced to Tuesday night’s late game with a 5-2 win over Sullivan South earlier in the day. Maddie O’Quinn pitched a complete game and Kallista Deprimo had a home run.
East (26-13) had dumped top-seeded Unicoi County into the losers’ bracket with a 13-1 win on Monday night. Wednesday’s championship will be a chance at redemption for the Blue Devils.
“We just have to come play and see what happens,” Lingerfelt said. “East is a very good team. They’re hitting the heck out of it right now.”
Griffith, for one, was glad to be getting another crack at the Patriots.
“Tomorrow it’s going down at 5:30,” she said.