By Rick Sheek
JOHNSON CITY — Visiting the top team in the Watauga Valley Conference, Cloudland’s softball team didn’t embarrass itself.
The Lady Highlanders came up short 5-0 to University High on Wednesday at Midway Field.
“I thought we did a good job in the field,” Cloudland coach Kenneth Chambers said. “We had opportunities a couple of times there, especially that one inning. We had two runners on and a girl was playing for a double play, we hit right to her and she turned a double play on us.
“I think that hurt us, but overall I think we played really good.”
UH (22-10, 7-0) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Mikki Burke’s run scoring single. Sarah Mast had walked and stolen second base before being plated.
The Junior Bucs stranded a pair of runners in the second. In the third, Mollee Cohee delivered a run-scoring single, an error allowed a runner to cross and Carolyn Knight’s run-scoring single made it 4-0.
UH’s Haley Faulkner lost her perfect game bid in the fourth when she walked Summer Hughes. Hunter McKinney followed with a single to kill the no-hitter, but both Highlanders were stranded.
The Junior Bucs left two on in the fourth. In the Cloudland (5-5, 1-4) sixth, Kendall Mull reached base by error and Hope Baker singled with none out.
UH shortstop Sarah Mast turned a double play and the Junior Bucs escaped.
The onslaught was completed in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Taylor Treadway ripped a run-scoring single.
“They fielded well, they made some big plays and got a couple of key hits,” Chambers said. “That was the difference in the game. I think if could have gotten a hit here or there with them we could possibly have won, so I was happy with the way we played and how we battled and competed.”
Faulkner was touched for the two hits and fanned seven with one walk.
In four innings, McKinney yielded six hits and three earned runs. She struck out two and walked three.
Hughes closed the final two innings. She allowed three hits and an earned run.
“We pitched both pitchers, and both pitchers did well,” Chambers said. “We’ve just got to hit the ball. We hit the ball hard, but they just wouldn’t go out of the infield.
“They made some big plays. I give credit to UH.”
— — —
University High, 5-0
Cloudland 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
UH 103 001 x — 5 9 1
McKinney, Hughes (5) and Baker. Faulkner and Bright. W—Faulkner (20- 9). L—McKinney (4-5).