KINGSPORT — With the exception of one half-inning, Cloudland had Sullivan South reeling.
But a six-run fourth was too much damage to overcome and the Lady Rebels prevailed in an 8-3 victory on their home diamond.
South out-hit Cloudland 9 to 8 in an evenly-matched game, but the Lady Highlanders missed some opportunities early with runners in scoring position and it came back to haunt them.
“We put the bat on the ball very well,” said Cloudland coach Kenneth Chambers. “We had runners on second or third and just couldn’t get that next hit to get them in. We had runners on with one out the first three or four innings and couldn’t put it on them. If we could’ve put it on them, I think we could’ve had them.
“They had that one inning and got some seeing-eye shots. We made one or two mistakes and it just really killed us.”
Cloudland jumped on top of South in the early moments thanks to a single from Kelly King, who stole second to set up an RBI single from Summer Hughes.
The Lady Rebels responded in the bottom of the frame. Erica Martin, after being struck by a pitch, advanced on a stolen base and single from Ashley Lusher before scoring on a base-hit from Sydney Jackson to tie the game at one apiece.
Cloudland regained an edge in its next offensive frame. Hunter McKinney reached with a walk, stole second and held at third after infield hits from Martina Presnell and Kendall Mull loaded the bases.
Hope Baker brought McKinney across with the one out RBI single to right-center, but the Lady Highlanders weren’t able to pull the trigger on additional runs.
South, on the other hand, took advantage in the fourth after a one-out triple from Rebekah Larkins. Syndey Ward was struck by a pitch, then Gina Jones singled to load the bases.
Bridget Lawson brought Larkins across on a RBI fielder’s choice to tie the game, then a walk to Martin scored the go-ahead run.
Brooke Wallen delivered a two-run single, then Jackson and Larkins added RBI base hits to make it a 7-2 game.
South made it 8-2 in the fifth with a single from Jones, who crossed the plate on a passed ball.
McKinney inched Cloudland closer in the sixth with a leadoff double, scoring on a passed ball herself to make it 8-3. The Lady Highlanders were unable to tighten the gap any further as South held on.
“We scored three in six and they had six in one and that just really killed us,” said Chambers. “We had opportunities to win it early. We couldn’t be consistent with it.
“This is only our second week and we’ve played some really good teams. If we play like we are capable we have a good shot at winning (some games).”
Jones, with a 3-for-3 night, paced South, who also had two hits from Jackson and Larkins.
Eight different players tallied hits for Cloudland.
Bridget Lawson picked up the win in a complete seven-inning outing, striking out two with two walks in an eight-hit performance.
McKinney got the start for Cloudland, allowing seven runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Hughes closed the game, allowing just one run on one hit with a walk and strikeout in two innings.
Cloudland 110 001 0 — 3 8 0
Sullivan South 100 610 x — 8 9 0
Lawson and Ward. McKinney, Hughes (5) and Baker. 3B—South (Larkins). 2B—Cloudland (Whitehead, McKinney).