JOHNSON CITY — Just as soon as Elizabethton grabbed some momentum at the plate, a pair of errors in the field tossed an opportunity at victory out the window.
Science Hill followed the Lady Cyclones’ tying effort with a six-run sixth inning — keyed by the mistakes — to seal a 7-1 non-conference victory Monday afternoon at Kiwanis Park’s Grant Trivett Field.
“The errors sent us over the top,” said Elizabethton coach LeAnne Click.
With one out and one aboard, the first error of the sixth on a throw from the circle to first base went awry and allowed a second Lady Topper baserunner. Ashley DeGroat’s bunt to Lady Cyclone pitcher Lindsey Cunningham created a force out attempt at third, but Cunningham’s throw went wild and two runs scored as DeGroat rounded to third.
Megan Devotie followed up with an RBI single, then Hannah Devotie drilled a base hit to put two aboard for Emma Martindale, who launched a ball that appeared to float towards foul territory. A gust of wind kept the ball on line and it ricochet onto the outside of the fence, fair, after hitting the foul pole.
The three-run shot was capped by two more Science Hill hits before Cunningham settled down and struck out two batters to get out of the inning.
“We did well defensively the whole game,” said Click. “It tells you what one or two errors can do, they can put a damper on your game — then they hit the foul pole and got that home run. Other than that, it was a good game. You can’t knock them. Both teams did well until the bottom of the sixth for us. It’s kind of the way the cards fell for this one.”
Science Hill, who left a pair of runners stranded in the first, got on the board in the third with an RBI double from Martindale.
The Lady Toppers appeared poised for more runs in the fourth with the bases loaded, but Elizabethton got out of the inning with no harm done.
On the reverse side, Elizabethton found its momentum in the top of the fifth. A fielder’s choice and error at first base allowed Emily Dugger to get into scoring position.
The runner moved to third on a 4-3 groundout from Summer Reece and Danielle Loving provided the clutch bat from the one spot with an RBI single to right field, tying the game at one apiece.
A three-and-out defensive frame, set the Lady Cyclones up in the top of the sixth, but the visitors were unable to take advantage of what would be its final baserunner.
Science Hill made the most of the sixth and pitcher Ida Watson struck two of the final three Lady Cyclone batters out to seal the win.
“It’s hard when you’re down the entire game,” said Click. “But when you have a game like this where you’re even the entire way, it’s close and they wanted it. They definitely wanted this one. It’s the way it fell.”
Watson struck out eight and allowed six hits in the complete game win for the Toppers with Cunningham, who had give up just three hits up until the sixth, taking the loss.
Aside from Martindale’s 2-for-3, four RBI performance, Lindsey Keys had two hits for the home team. Five others scattered one hit apiece.
Loving and Casey Jones paced Elizabethton at the plate with 2-for-3 efforts, while Caley Hodge and Reazyn DeMoss tallied one hit each.
– – –
Elizabethton 000 010 0 — 1 6 2
Science Hill 001 006 x — 7 9 1
Cunningham and Hodge. Watson and Rush.
W—Watson. L—Cunningham. 2B—Science Hill, Martindale. HR—Science Hill, Martindale.