By Tim Chambers
They might not be “Peaches and Herb,” but Elizabethton is starting to “shake its groove thing” at the right time. A 12-5 win over Johnson County on Tuesday was impressive to say the least.
The red hot Lady Cyclones banged out 13 hits, which gave head coach Leanna Click reason to smile.
“Our hitting was phenomenal today,” said Click. “I couldn’t have ask for anything better. From one through nine, we hit it well. We have a few defensive things we need to work on, but as long as we hit it like we did today then we’ll have a chance to win.”
The Cyclones wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first inning.
Danielle Loving staked them to a 3-0 lead by launching a mammoth three-run homer over the center-field fence, scoring Summer Reece — who had singled — and Emily Carr.
“It felt good when it left the bat,” said Loving. “It was probably my best one yet.”
The Lady Longhorns used a base hit by Eden Smith and a pair of ’Betsy errors to plate their first run in the second inning and would tie the game during the third.
Haley Miller and Ashley Arnold led off with back-to-back base hits. An error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Hollie Harrison and Eden Smith’s sacrifice fly pulled them dead even at 3-3.
It stayed that way until the fourth inning when ’Betsy struck for six runs — five came with two outs.
Walks to Abby Stephenson and Reece got things started then Carr ripped a hit to break the tie.
The Longhorns were within an out of getting out of the inning, but things went haywire for them at that point.
Lindsey Cunningharm stroked a two-run single and later scored on Caley Hodge’s base hit.
Ashleigh Dykes added insult to injury by roping a two-run homer down the left-field line that upped their lead at 9-3.
From that point it was all Cyclones.
Carr, Emily Dugger and Dykes all had singles in the sixth inning. The biggest hit — a two-run single by Sophie Bremer — upped their advantage at 12-3.
The Longhorns, however, refused to go down without a fight.
Eden Smith doubled in the seventh inning. She and Arnold would scored on an error.
Cunningham went the distance on the mound for Elizabethton. She scattered eight hits while picking up the win and drove in three runs with a pair of base hits.
Dykes, Hodge, Carr and Bremer had two hits apiece. Dugger was 1-for-1.
“I’ve been trying to play my way into the lineup for a long time, so hitting it well felt good,” said Carr, who had been used earlier in the season as a flex player. “They have some strong hitter and fielders but we came out ready for them.”
Smith and Abby Reece had a pair of hits each for the ’Horns. Arnold batted 1-for-3 and scored twice.
Head coach Dana Smith indicated she might have gone too long with her freshman pitcher after the defense had botched a few plays.
“I probably hung in there a little too long with my pitcher,” said Johnson County head coach Dana Smith. “She’s a freshmen — we talked a lot about it. We made too many errors, but everything with us is a learning experience. We’re playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores. They’ll get better as the season progresses.”
Johnson Co. 012 000 2 — 5 8 2
Elizabethton 300 603 x — 12 13 3
Edington, Nelson (4) and Watson. Cunningham and Hodge, Loving (6). W—Cunningham. L—Edington. HR—Eliz (Loving, Dykes).