By Gene Renfro
BLUFF CITY — Elizabethton knows the road in the Region 1-AA Softball Tournament after the Lady Cyclones were defeated by Unicoi County by a 4-0 score Thursday in the District 1-AA championship contest.
The Lady Cyclones, now 21- 13, will travel to Greeneville for Monday’s semifinal contest. Elizabethton have played in the last seven Region 1-AA events and the last time the Lady Cyclones played for the Region 1-AA title was in the 2010 tournament.
“We played fantastic defense. Just that one inning, got a couple on and hit a home run,” Elizabethton head coach Leanna Click said. “We played good, we just didn’t hit the ball.”
That one inning mentioned by Click was the Unicoi County, with a 41-7 record, portion of the fifth. Tournament MVP Chelsey Gardner had a RBI single before Tiffany Laughren launched a three-run home run out to right center for additional insurance.
That proved too much for the Lady Cyclones to overcome against All-Tournament selection Kacy Silvers. The Lady Blue Devil threw a complete game, two-hit shutout. She kept Elizabethton off the bases until Ashleigh Dykes was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fifth. Silvers had nine strikeouts in the day and 31 in 21 innings over three outings.
Caley Hodge and Emily Carr had the two Elizabethton hits, coming in the final two innings.
All-District 1-AA Tournament selection Lindsey Cunningham was tagged for 11 hits Thursday. All four runs went in the earned column as her tournament ERA climbed to 2.24. She might not have had a hit with the bat, but still had a .400 average in four outings.
Danielle Loving and Reazyn DeMoss were also on the All- Tournament squad. Loving had a .462 average at the event. DeMoss posted a .333 mark with a tournament-best .917 slugging percentage. She also led all players at the event with two home runs, 11 total bases, six RBIs and two walks.
Unicoi County, winners of the District 1-AA Tournament for a second straight season, will host Grainger County Monday in a rematch of last year’s Region 1-AA semifinal contest. The Lady Blue Devils won that contest 6-5.
After the game the All-Three Rivers Conference team was announced. Sophie Bremer, Hodge, Cunningham, DeMoss and Loving were all on the squad. Carr, Dykes, Casey Jones and Abby Stephenson were honorable mentions.
— — —
Elizabethton 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Unicoi County 000 040 x — 4 11 2
Cunningham and Hodge. Silvers and Starnes.
WP — Silver. LP — Cunningham.
HR: Unicoi (Laughren).