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All-stars win state title, advance to region

The Unicoi County Little League 8-10 year-old softball all-star team won the state championship last week. The team, which is made up of players Kaley Toney, Noly Cooper, Kinley Carver, Kyndal Engle, Chloe Connor, Reagan Carroll, Emma Hummer, Annabelle Eanes, Carly Baxter, Carmindy Williams, Kianna Woodward and Aaliyah Engle, is pictured above with their state championship banner. The team is also coached by Terry Higgins, Aaron Toney and Daniel Engle.

From Staff Reports

Unicoi County has another state softball title.

This latest one came thanks to the efforts of the Unicoi County Little League’s 8-10 year-old softball all-star team.

The road to the state title began in the District 5 tournament, which the team won last month. That tournament win sent the team to the state tournament played at Erwin’s Kiwanis Park.

According to manager Terry Higgins, these future Lady Devils opened the state tournament on Saturday, July 6, with a 13-3 victory over Dickson County. Later that day, they defeated Smith County, 12-2. These victories set up a game with Goodlettsville on Sunday, July 7, which Unicoi County won 7-4. This victory sent the team to the championship round.

After the loss to Unicoi County, Goodlettsville battled out of the losers’ bracket to face the hometown team once again on Tuesday, July 9. This time, Goodlettsville came out victorious, defeating Unicoi County, 4-3.

This forced a winner-take-all game the following day. In that game, the now-familiar foes battled to a 0-0 tie after six innings. Then, Unicoi County’s offense came alive for what Higgins described as “an extra-inning thriller.”

“We scored six runs in the top half of the seventh inning and held Goodlettsville off in the bottom of the seventh,” Higgins added.

With a state title in hand, the all-stars now set their sights on a Southeast Regional championship. Higgins said the team is expected to open regional play on Saturday, July 20, in Cunningham, Tennessee. The opponent and time have yet to be announced.

In addition to Unicoi County, the tournament will include teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, Higgins said.