By Gene Renfro
ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton softball squad did not give in, but the Lady Cyclones were unable to answer Unicoi County’s final two innings in an 11-5 setback Thursday that wrapped up the Three Rivers Conference slate for the ladies in black and orange.
“I can’t complain, we made some errors in places we shouldn’t have,” Elizabethton head coach LeAnna Click said. “They hit the ball, we hit it too. We didn’t pull through in the seventh. We played with them and never quit. It was a good game.”
Even when Unicoi County scored in the top of the first, the Lady Cyclones tied things up in the bottom of the half without a hit. After two outs were recorded, a pair of walks to Lindsey Cunningham and Reazyn DeMoss were issued. Caley Hodge was hit by a pitch before Ashleigh Dykes was hit by a pitch for an RBI.
Once again the visitors struck for four scores in the fifth, and Elizabethton matched that number in the bottom of the inning. Emily Carr was hit by a pitch before Danielle Loving hit a double to center.
A single by Sophie Bremer allowed her teammates to move a base including Carr’s score. Cunningham added a RBI double to left center. She later scored on a throwing error after DeMoss grounded out.
“I said we have to hit it,” Click said about the message when Elizabethton went to bottom of the fifth down 5-1. “We’ve done it before and they answered. It came down to they hit better at the end than we did. I know we can beat them.”
The Lady Blue Devils then scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth before a four-run outburst in the final frame.
With the outcome, the Lady Cyclones ended the league slate at 6-4 — which keeps the team as the No. 2 seed for the District 1-AA Tournament as Happy Valley was defeated by Johnson County Thursday. Elizabethton will take an overall record of 14-7 to Greeneville for the Tiny Day Tournament that starts today.
Elizabethton had seven hits spread out evenly from the top seven in the lineup. Cunningham and DeMoss added walks as well. The first Lady Cyclone hit came from Casey Jones in the fourth inning.
Cunningham went all seven innings in the circle for the home side. She gave up the 11 runs — 10 earned — on 19 hits, walked a pair of batters and struck out another.
From the other dugout, Unicoi County, now 8-0 in the league and 30-6 overall, pounded out 19 hits. Shea Pearson was 4-for-5, scored three times and drove in a pair of runs. Taylor Wright was 3-for-5 with a three-run home run as a part of a five-RBI day. Kaylee Nicholson and Chesley Gardner both went 3-for-5 as well. The first five of the Lady Devils order combined to go 15-for-25.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game, they’re all tough,” Unicoi County head coach Grady Lingerfelt said. “I knew we were in for a battle when we come over here. I don’t think we came over ready to play early, but eventually we got better.”
Kacy Silvers scattered the seven Elizabethton hits and mixed in four strikeouts. She did hit three Lady Cyclones and walked two others.
Unicoi Co. 100 042 4 — 11 19 1
Elizabethton 100 040 0 — 5 7 2
Silvers and Starnes. Cunningham and Hodge. W—Silvers. L—Cunningham. HR—UC, Wright.