By Rick Sheek
If Happy Valley’s softball team goes the way Beth Reece does, the Lady Jr. Warriors are no doubt looking at an ultra-successful spring.
Reece batted 9 for 9 with 12 RBIs on Thursday, leading Happy Valley to a Little Watauga Conference doubleheader sweep at Hampton. The Warriors (6-1) rolled in 24-1, 20-3 romps.
Reece clubbed two home runs, three triples and a double.
“She had a good at-bat every time she got up,” Happy Valley coach Mandy Greer said. “She’s a very aggressive hitter, and I like that. She brings a good spark to the rest of the team, and helps to motivate the rest of them a lot. She’s a good leader.”
Reece went 5 for 5 in the opener with four RBIs and stole two bases. She tripled and doubled in that four-inning affair.
Kennedy Richardson went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Kenzie Davis was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and four stolen bases.
Emily Whitaker hit 2 for 2 with two steals. Sydney Puckett and Jamie Lee Clark were each 2 for 2 with doubles, while Kaitlyn Roberts recorded two steals.
In that first game, Kalee Johnson hurled no-hit ball over two innings with the one earned run. She struck out two and walked four.
In one inning of middle relief, Kenzie Davis fanned one. Calli Davis closed, and in her one inning yielded two hits and fanned two.
Shyanne Tuelle went the distance for winless Hampton. She was roughed up for 20 hits, struck out four and walked 10.
The Warriors sent 26 batters to the plate in the first inning, surging to a 21-1 advantage. The Lady Jr. Bulldogs actually led 1-0 to start the inning when a wild pitch plated a runner.
“To be honest, Happy Valley has got a really good team,” Hampton coach Joy Gardner said. “They’ll probably be at or battling for the top position in the conference.”
The Warriors turned two double plays in the first contest.
Reece was 4 for 4 with eight RBIs in the finale. That included two inside-the-park homers and a pair of triples.
Whitaker was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, a triple and three steals. Richardson went 2 for 3 with four steals.
Puckett and Johnson each stole three bases. The Warriors led 10-0 through two innings and 13-1 after three.
Hampton got its scores on a pair of wild pitches and Tera Clark driving in a run.
“We’re still young,” Gardner said. “We’re starting a sixth-grader on the mound and several key positions starting sixth graders. We’re going to grow, we’re going to learn and that’s what we’re working. We’re just working on getting better.”
Tuelle fired 12⁄3 innings of the nightcap. She scattered six hits, fanned two and walked six with eight wild pitches and a hit batter.
Clark finished up, also allowing six hits. She walked four with three wild pitches and a hit batter.
Johnson hurled two no-hit innings, yielding an earned run. She struck out four and walked one with three wild pitches.
Kenzie Davis pitched the final two innings, giving up just one hit with the two earned runs. She fanned two, walked four and hurled three wild pitches.
“It’s two good conference wins,” Greer said. “We’ve got to turn around tomorrow and play Chuckey-Doak, who beat us in the Ridgeview tournament, so we’ve got to keep it up for two days in a row. We can’t get comfortable. We’ve got to turn back around tomorrow and play just as good or better.”