A couple of first-inning errors and a soft rain couldn’t halt Elizabethton. Neither could Unaka.
A combination of timely hits, stolen bases, errors and walks keyed two big scoring innings and led the Lady Cyclones to a 13-3 home victory over the Lady Rangers Friday evening.
Elizabethton’s Lindsey Cunningham kept Unaka at bay, dealing five hits while striking out six for the win. She aided her own cause at the plate with a 3-for-4 outing, including two doubles with a pair of runs batted in.
“We’re pitching really well,” said Elizabethton coach LeAnne Click. “Lindsey’s a tough girl and she pulls through hitting. She does it all the way around.”
The Lady Cyclones combined for 12 hits on the day and also had multiple hits from Danielle Loving and Sophie Bremer. Loving was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, while Bremer’s 2-for-3 outing included a double with an RBI.
Senior Emily Carr also drove a pair of runs home with a second-inning double.
“After the couple of errors we made we got in there and started hitting in the second inning,” said Click, whose team was without three regular starters in Friday’s game. “Lindsey started us off and the middle to bottom of the line-up really pulled through for us. Everybody hit the ball well. Emily Carr, a senior, had a double for us and that was good to see.
“We’ve been working hard on our hitting and running the bases — getting extra bases, so that was good to see. Danielle Loving is kind of my utility player, my other shortstop is out of town, so she did really well filling in. I had three or four starters out and they stepped up and filled the positions great.”
Elizabethton faced an immediate 1-0 deficit when Lady Ranger Autumn Bradshaw reached on an error and advanced across home plate on a fielding error from the bat of Madison Weaver.
From that point forward, the momentum was clad in Orange & Black.
Cunningham led off with a single and stole second. A walk to Caley Hodge was followed with a double steal by the two baserunners.
A light rain seemed to work in the Lady Cyclones’ favor as a passed ball allowed Cunningham to cross the plate. Ashleigh Dykes reached on an error at third, then Hodge scored on a throwing error.
Abby Stephenson and Sophie Bremer each reached on walks to load the bases for Carr, who smacked a two-run double to make it a 4-0 game.
Summer Reece plated a fifth run with a sacrifice RBI, then Danielle Loving and Cunningham brought runs across the plate with doubles to cap the seven-run inning.
Unaka added one run apiece in the third and fifth innings to close the gap at 7-3, but Elizabethton put the icing on the cake with six runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game in five.
For Unaka, Leslie Colbaugh was credited with the loss on the mound.
The win, capping a momentum-gaining week, improves Elizabethton to 4-1 on the season.
Since last week’s loss to Happy Valley, the Lady Cyclone coach said she noticed a difference in her club and the team was ready to play all week.
“We’re ready to come out and play, all of us,” Click added. “After that loss to Happy Valley, it kind of woke us up. We definitely have been ready to really show what kind of team we are.
“Being aggressive — my coaching style is pretty aggressive as far as getting on the bases and I love to run. We’re trying to use our speed as best as possible and play good defense. We’ve been practicing pretty hard and these early games have helped us see where to focus.”
Elizabethton continues conference play this week with Johnson County at home Tuesday and a trip to Sullivan East Wednesday.
The Lady Rangers, who entered Friday’s game with a win over Hampton, will try to regain some momentum with this week with games including a big Thursday test against University High.
Unaka 101 01 — 3 5 3
Elizabethton 070 06 — 13 12 2
Cunningham and Hodge. Colbaugh and Matheson. W—Cunningham. L—Colbaugh. 2B—Elizabethton, Loving 2, Cunningham 2, Bremer, Carr.