By Tim Chambers
University High’s unblemished conference record was nearly spoiled on Wednesday afternoon in Roan Mountain.
It took a comeback effort for the Lady Jr. Bucs to knock off Cloudland 4-3, thanks to an unearned run scoring in the seventh inning.
Coach Kenneth Chambers had a mixed bag of thoughts after the game.
“We played well and we hit it much better,” said Chambers. “We just made a couple of critical mistakes at the wrong time. When you do that, a good team will make you pay for it and UH did. I’m proud of our effort – we’ve just got to be able to sustain playing good softball for seven innings.”
The Jr. Bucs used a leadoff double by Sarah Mast and a sacrifice fly from Tanner Horton to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
They increased it to 2-0 during the third frame. Belle Bright singled, then later scored on an error, helping UH build a two-run cushion.
Back came the Lady Highlanders with a vengeance in the fifth.
They put up a trio of runs on the board to take a 3-2 lead.
Kendall Mull led off with a bunt single, which was followed by a walk to Hope Baker.
Kelly King cut the deficit in half with a run-scoring single. Summer Hughes helped erase it with a two-run double, putting Cloudland in front.
The Jr. Bucs rallied to tie the game in the sixth frame.
Bright ripped her second hit of the game before coming home on a double by Haley Faulkner.
A leadoff double by Mast in the seventh led to her scoring on an error that should have been the third out in the inning.
Cloudland got an outstanding pitching effort from Hunter McKinney. She allowed only five hits while going the distance.
The Highlanders banged out six hits on the day. Baker, King, Hughes, Andrea Gwyn, Mull and Martina Presnell shared the half dozen with one apiece.
Mast and Bright had two apiece for University High.
Falkner came on in the sixth inning in relief of Horton to earn the win.
Chambers hopes his team gets another opportunity to play UH in the district tournament.
“We play Hampton a doubleheader today and will have to beat them in the play-in game on Saturday to advance,” said Chambers. “Anything can happen this time of year. We’ve played some of our best softball against the better teams. Hopefully we can play well over the next couple of weeks.”
— — —
University High 100 101 1 — 4 5 1
Cloudland 000 030 0 — 3 6 4
Horton, Faulkner (6), and Bright. McKinney and Baker. W—Faulkner. L—McKinney