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Ladies advance to title game

District domination was the name of the game on Monday, May 4, for the Lady Blue Devils.
The Unicoi County High School softball team (41-3) earned an 8-0 win against Elizabethton during the District 1-AA softball tournament winners’ bracket final at Happy Valley High School.
The win automatically qualified the Lady Devils for a bid to the Region 1-AA tournament and district championship, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 p.m.
The Lady Devils were set to face the winner of the losers’ bracket final which was played on Tuesday, May 5, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. Either Elizabethton, Happy Valley or Sullivan South could win that game.
Against Elizabethton on May 4, Lady Blue Devil catcher Destinie Hayes did the honors of moving her team’s home run total for the year to 53, by crushing her sixth home run of the season – a grand slam blast that gave her squad the go-ahead score.
Both teams kept things interesting early on.
UCHS held an early 1-0 advantage heading to the fourth with a run scoring off an error. Outfielder Cassie Foster and first baseman Taylor Wright helped their team with an RBI apiece to help the offense flow.
Neelee Griffith anchored the hitting from the bottom of the lineup, knocking in three hits to lead the squad.
Tiffany Laughren chalked up the victory in the circle by scattering five hits over seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
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UCHS set up their meeting with Elizabethton on May 4 after earning an 8-0 shutout over Johnson County in the District 1-AA Tournament on Friday, May 1, at Happy Valley.
The Lady Devils broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning after two scoreless frames and plated four runs thanks to a two-RBI double from Laughren and a double from Hayes that added a run.
Pulling double-duty at the plate and in the circle, Laughren’s pitch placement didn’t net a multitude of strikeouts, two on the night, but the the Lady Longhorns amassed only six hits and never threatened in the remaining five innings of the game.
Laughren also led the offensive tally by knocking in three ribbies on a 3-4 effort at the plate. Hayes joined her senior teammate, going 3-4 with two RBI.
“We knew what to expect,” Hayes said about squaring off against Johnson County for a third time this season. “They hit the ball the well and have power in their lineup. It was important for us to get the first win out of the way.”