By Tim Chambers
If you like defensive softball games, then Ronnie Hicks Field was the place to be on Tuesday afternoon. East Side High out of Coeburn, Va., and Unaka hooked up in a dogfight — with the Lady Spartans coming out on top 1-0.
Fans hardly had time to get comfortable in their seats before this one was over.
Unaka’s Kassie Winters and East Side’s Lindsay Dean were locked in a pitchers’ duel for seven innings.
Dean scattered four hits en route to her shutout win. Winters gave up only three, but one of those would decide the outcome.
Dean’s solo home run in the first inning proved to be the difference in the contest. Winters pitched six shutout innings after that. She was aided by several strong defensive gems by freshman shortstop Lexi Perry, who took the place of Winters after she was called on to pitch.
The move would have been a good one had Unaka been able to deliver a key hit here or there. It managed only four, and no Lady Rangers was able to get beyond second base.
Winters, Leslie Colbaugh, Autumn Bradshaw and Madison Weaver had the only hits in the game for the Creekers.
Head coach Carrie Stevens was upbeat despite the nailbiting loss.
“Aside from Greeneville, this was the best team and pitcher we’ve saw all season,” said Stevens. “Our defense was outstanding and Kassie pitched us a great game. I thought Perry made a lot of good plays at short, but we could never string enough hits together to put any type of pressure on them. Overall I was proud of the way our kids hung in there. If we hit the ball and keep playing like we did today, we’ll do very good in the conference.”
The Lady Rangers will play University High today in a big conference showdown at 4:30. The game will be played at Midway Field in Johnson City.
East Side 100 000 0 — 1 3 0
Unaka 000 000 0 — 0 4 0
W—Lindsay. L—Winters. HR—Dean.