Weather conditions played havoc with the start of the Carter County American Little League softball tournament played at Garrison Field on Tuesday.
In the opener, the Chick-Fil-A Chicks got a no-hitter from pitcher Corey Schuettler and a 15-3 win, and after a 30-minute rain delay, the SWAT team toppled Milligan Grocery 12-2.
Hits were scarce in game one, with Schuettler turning in a 13-strikeout performance against Plumbers Hardware of Roan Mountain. She walked one and hit one, and all three runs against her were unearned.
“Corey has come a long way,” said Chicks coach Sara Wagner. “I had someone work with her a lot and she has really improved.”
For the Plumbers, Sydney Markland struggled with her control and the game quickly turned in favor of the Chicks with a six-run second frame that gave them a 9-3 lead.
Markland surrendered just four hits, but walked plenty — and the Chicks stole bases seemingly at will, manufacturing runs in the process.
Schuettler had an RBI triple for one of the hits the Chicks mustered, Maddie Lassiter had an RBI single in the five-run fourth as did Kaylen Shell, whose hit brought home two runs.
Schuettler finished off her gem by striking out the side in the fourth to close out an opening win for the now streaking Chicks, who struggled through the regular season, but open the tournament with a big victory.
A wet ball was an issue for both teams in game two, but SWAT pitcher Kellie Cunningham handled it well, striking out 10 and maintaining her control throughout the contest.
“Milligan was the one team we struggled with, so it was good to open with a win against them,” said SWAT manager Patrick Johnson. “We came out a little bit nervous about that, but my girls came in here and hung tough. We have a good lineup in that we have some power, but we can play small ball too.
“I like to stagger them out so when Kellie had that big hit to open the game — and our small ball hitters did the rest.”
Milligan pitcher Sarah Tipton struggled with the wet ball, walking nine and giving up seven hits.
“The wet ball had a lot to do with how she pitched,” said Milligan Grocery manager Chelsea Gallant. “Most of our kids have never played before and never played in the rain, so it was a major factor.
“We plan on coming back and getting back into it. One loss is not going to keep us down.”
Cunningham gave up a run in the first as Savannah Tipton reached after a strikeout on a passed ball and after a walk; Sarah Tipton reached on an infield hit to load the bases.
A walk to Alexis Bier forced home a run as the ‘grocers’ took a 1-0 lead.
SWAT rallied for six in its half of the frame with Cunningham ripping a triple to open the inning. Walks loaded the bases and brought home two more runs after Cunningham scored on a wild pitch to make it a3-1 contest.
Baylee Kemp’s single brought home two more runs to make it a 6-1 game after one inning was in the books.
The SWAT girls plated another six in the third frame with Emily Richardson driving in a run with a triple, and she scored on the errant relay throw to third to make it an 8-1 game.
Taylor Greene had an RBI knock and Kemp’s second hit of the game plated two more and SWAT ended the third frame with a 12-1 advantage.
Milligan went down swinging in the top of the fourth as Darryl Hitechew singled and scored on a wild pitch two batters later.
Chicks 361 5 — 15
Plumbers Hardware 120 0 — 3
Milligan 100 1 — 2
SWAT 606 x — 12
W—Cunningham. 3B—Cunningham, E. Richardson.