By Rick Sheek
Happy Valley’s bats were lethal, and Brittany Morefield also hurled a gem on the mound.
The Lady Warriors, rapping 15 hits, disposed of Unaka 5-2 in their softball season opener on Tuesday at Cannon-Gouge Park. Morefield was solid in scattering four hits, allowing an earned run with no strikeouts and no walks.
“I kind of ran us out of a couple of runs, but that happens,” Happy Valley coach Mike Dorsey said. “She threw strikes and we played good defense behind her for the most part.”
The Warriors held a 5-1 advantage with two out in the seventh inning. Lexi Perry singled and pinch-hitter Brooke Austin doubled her in before Morefield escaped and finalized the outcome.
“It just seemed like we didn’t want to win today,” Unaka coach Carrie Stevens said. “We’ve been in a hitting slump. We’ve got a lineup that can hit the ball, and it looks like they’re coming through for us.
“Same thing as yesterday, just pop them up, ground them out. Making errors, outfield not catching balls that should have been caught. It is frustrating, when you know you’ve got a team you know can do a lot better.”
Each team committed three errors.
Happy Valley’s Allison Williams batted 4 for 4 with two doubles. Going 3 for 4 were Brooke Simmons and Morefield.
The coach was obviously all smiles about such an offensive erupton, especially against a program which has been so dominant over the decades.
“Definitely, definitely,” Dorsey said. “If we can keep that up we’ll be all right.”
Only one run that Kassie Winters yielded was earned. She fanned one, walked one and hurled two wild pitches in place of the injured Alicia Colbaugh.
“We just asked her to go out there and throw strikes, and we’ve got defense that should be able to catch the ball,” Stevens said. “That’s how we feel about it, and they’re just not coming through for us. They’re making her pitch to batters that she shouldn’t even be getting through.
“We should be getting out way before we are. They’re just not backing her up. I think our pitching’s OK. She didn’t walk that many today, putting it where they can hit it and our defense isn’t backing her up. That’s all there is to it.”
A pair of errors in the first inning allowed Madison Weaver to plate a run and give Unaka (0-2) a 1-0 lead. Williams doubled in the bottom half, and Simmons singled her in to knot the affair.
Morefield’s run-scoring double in the second spurred the Warriors ahead 2-1. Unaka’s infield then turned a double play.
The Rangers’ Autumn Bradshaw, who had led off with a single in the third, was moved to third base on bunts from Winters and Jessie Matheson, but was stranded.
Williams’ run-scoring double in the third made it 3-1. Matheson, the catcher, gunned down a runner attempting to steal that inning.
The Warriors loaded the bases with none out in the fourth. Williams’ run-scoring single pushed the cushion to 4-1.
The Warriors Sarah Mounts delivered a run-scoring single in the fifth to make it 5-1.
Matheson led off the sixth with a double, but a Happy Valley double play retired the Rangers.
Unaka center fielder Brandi Ensor made three outstanding catches, as well as throwing out a runner at home.
“Anytime it’s a ‘W’, it’s real good,” Dorsey said.
Happy Valley 5, Unaka 2
Unaka 100 000 1 — 2 4 3
Happy Valley 101 120 x — 5 15 3
Winters and J. Matheson. Morefield and Simmons. W—Morefield (1-0). L—Winters (0-2).