By Rick Sheek
BLUFF CITY — There were no earned runs in Wednesday’s Three Rivers Conference softball tilt between Elizabethton and Sullivan East.
Yet, amid the sloppy play, East emerged victorious 3-1 at G.B. Prince Field. The Lady Cyclones committed five errors as they dropped to 5-2, 2-2 in the league.
“We had some errors early on, and that killed us,” Elizabethton coach LeAnne Click said. “It’s just hard to win ball games against a good team if you have errors, and we didn’t hit as well as we had been. If we were to hit it as well, we could have made up for those errors.”
Caley Hodge gave the Cyclones the early advantage with a run-scoring single in the first inning. That plated Danielle Loving, who had reached base by error and stole two bases.
The Patriots (9-5, 2-2) surged ahead 2-1 in the bottom half. Casey Williams tagged a sacrifice fly and an error plated a run.
Elizabethton made two errors that inning.
“It was a close game,” Click said. “What we need to work on is our errors. We work pretty hard defensively a lot, but we do have a young squad. We’ll work on it and we’ll get better.”
With two out in the second, the Cyclones’ Sophie Bremer doubled. She was stranded.
Loving singled in the third, and was left on.
The Patriots stranded two runners in the second. East was retired in the third when a baserunner was gunned down after right fielder Emily Carr hooked up with Loving at shortstop.
Hodge, who batted 2 for 3, singled to lead off the fourth. The Patriots turned a double play to retire the Cyclones.
Elizabethton pitcher Lindsey Cunningham sent East down 1-2-3 in the fourth. The Cyclones’ Abby Stephenson singled in the fifth, but was stranded.
The Patriots were three-up and three-down again in the fifth. The results was the same for Elizabethton in the sixth.
Madeline Standbridge completed the onslaught in the sixth with a run-scoring single. The seventh saw Angel Trent retire the Cyclones in order, the last two batters on strikeouts.
“We kind of got over-anxious, I think,” Click said. “We started swinging at bad pitches, and popping up a lot and grounding out a lot. We put the bat on the ball for the most part, but we just didn’t execute and pull through when we needed to.”
Trent allowed five hits. She struck out four and walked one.
Cunningham was touched for three hits. She fanned five and walked two with one wild pitch.
“We’ve done fairly well the past four games,” the coach said. “We play Unicoi on Tuesday, so we’re going to be ready. We’ll step it up, and be where we need to be for Unicoi.”
— — —
Sullivan East, 3-1
Elizabethton 100 000 0 — 1 5 5
Sullivan East 200 001 x — 3 3 1
Cunningham and Hodge. Trent and Scott. W—Trent (5-5). L—Cunningham (5-2).