FCA All-Star Challenge: NET seniors take pair from Southwest Virginia

Tanner Cook • Updated Jun 15, 2019 at 6:46 PM

KINGSPORT — Fellowship, making new friends and playing a couple of softball games made for the objective in Saturday’s FCA Tennessee-Virginia Senior All-Star Challenge at Indian Highland Park.

There were 21 schools represented across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Although the Virginia team had plenty of opportunities, especially in the second contest, Tennessee took both games — winning 7-3 and then 3-1.

The Most Valuable Players of the first game were Sullivan East’s Chelsea Sams and Auburn’s Abby Wilson.

Sams had the only in-game home run for the Tennessee team in the opener as she crushed a three-run shot in the fourth to blow things open. She also had a single in the contest.

Part of the newly crowned Virginia Class 1 state champions, Wilson had a single, a double and scored once. Furthermore, she emerged as the home-run derby champion, getting past Daniel Boone’s Megan Ackerman in a tiebreaker round after hitting two shots to the deepest part of the park with eight outs.

In the tiebreaker, Ackerman could not hit any balls out before she reached the five-out limit. On her third swing, Wilson hit one over the right-field wall and took home the crown.

Ridgeview’s Nikole Counts went the Game-1 distance from the pitching circle, and was effective in stages. However, she left too many balls up for the dangerous Tennessee hitters to hit and drive.

Ackerman started the first game for Tennessee, but she was roughed up a bit — surrendering two first-inning runs to Virginia. Sullivan East’s Katelyne Loudy came in relief and was effective, pitching three solid innings and giving up only one run.

In the back end of the twin-bill, the offenses were stymied by stellar pitching.

David Crockett’s Kara Weems started the game and got herself in a bases-loaded jam with no outs. She eventually got out of it unscathed.

The MVPs of the second game belonged to the relief pitchers: Kate Pendleton (Gate City) and Sydney Allen (Volunteer). Combined, they yielded only one run and five hits over the final three innings of work.

“It’s a great feeling to put the jersey on one more time. It feels even better after that last game at Lebanon after we lost,” Pendleton said. “It’s great meeting people that all have a love for the game. … Some of these girls I’ve played with since I was 10 years old and it was great to get out here and play with them.”

Said Allen: “I was pleased with my pitching and it was fun being out here with all these different players from different schools. It was sad to know this was the last time I’m getting to put on this jersey, but I know that I had some great times in it. I made some great memories.”