Happy Valley was one pitch away from a second conference victory. Costly errors wouldn’t allow it.
The Lady Patriots, thanks to seven mistakes in the field by the Lady Warriors, picked up their first Three Rivers Conference victory in eight innings with a 5-4 decision.
“We gave that one away, plain and simple,” sad Happy Valley coach Mike Dorsey, whose team falls to 5-5, 1-2 on the season. “I don’t know where their heads were. It wasn’t on the ball.
“Jessa (Dugger) was hurt and I don’t know if that affected them or not, but they’ve got to be ready to play. It’s like we’re stringing our errors together and spreading our hits out.”
The Lady Warriors jumped ahead 2-0, but fell behind after a three-run second from East. Two runs in the fourth inning put the home team in front and the win was in sight before mistakes derailed the effort.
Sullivan East out-hit Happy Valley 10-9, and made just one error in the field. Angel Trent picked up the win in a complete effort, while Brittany Morefield took the loss for Happy Valley.
“We’re two outs with 0-2 on the batter and to come back and win the game, I couldn’t be more happy about that,” said Lady Patriots coach Tommy Forrester. “We’ve been swinging the bats well. That wasn’t a fluke thing. I’ve been bragging on this team all season long that we’ve got hitters 1 through 9.
“The top of the lineup struggled early and a lot of that’s Morefield. I thought the bottom of our lineup stepped up and their runs early was huge.”
Allison Williams got the offense going for Happy Valley in the bottom of the opening frame with the first of two triples on the game. An RBI groundout from Brooke Simmons scored the runs and gave the home team an early lead.
Consecutive singles from Kiara Coffey and Hannah Blevins set up an RBI single from Kaylee Street and Happy Valley led 2-0.
On the other end of the spectrum, East made a rally of its own with a lead-off double from Courtney Leonard, who was 3-for-3 on the day at the plate.
Madeline Standbridge reached on an error and a second infield error from the bat of Ashlee Minor scored the first Patriot run. Rachel
Stidham added an RBI double while Brittany Scott drove another run across the plate with an RBI fielder’s choice to give East a 3-2 lead.
The Lady Warriors responded in the fourth inning after Krisley Roberts reached on a double, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt.
Kaitlin Campbell drove the runner across with a single to tie the game, then Williams drove her second triple into left center for the go-ahead run.
Happy Valley’s defense held serve until the seventh inning with two outs and a 2-2 count on Leonard. A fielding error allowed the batter to reach safely. Standbridge followed with a two-out hit, then Ashlyn Douglas tied the game with an RBI single.
Happy Valley was unable to answer in the bottom of the stanza, forcing an extra inning.
More mistakes plagued the home team. Consecutive errors at by the Lady Warrior shortstop allowed Scott to make her way to third base with one out on the board in East’s extra-inning stanza.
With two outs on the board, Casey Williams’ lone hit was the biggest of the game, driving across the run for a 5-4 lead.
The Lady Warriors went three-up and out on their series, sending the ‘W’ back to Bluff City.
“It puts us one more step behind where we need to be,” Dorsey said. “But I believe in this group. I think they’ll come back.”
Allison Williams with three hits led the Lady Warriors at the plate, while Campbell and Street each had 2-for-4 days.
Aside from Leonard, none of the Lady Patriots had more than one hit.
The Lady Warriors return to action at Sullivan North Thursday before play begins in the Eastman Invitational on Friday.
Sullivan East 030 000 11 — 5 10 1
Happy Valley 200 200 00 — 4 9 6
Trent and Scott. Morefield and Coffey. W—Trent. L—Morefield. 3B—Happy Valley (Williams 2). 2B—Sullivan East (Stidham, Leonard).