By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County High School softball team stayed in control in the race for a the Three Rivers Conference crown with three wins last week.
The Lady Devils (26-9, 10-1) traveled to Johnson County on Friday, April 21, and returned to Erwin with a 3-0 victory over the Lady Longhorns.
Halie Padget had a solid game for UCHS in Mountain City. The junior pitcher threw 7 innings, allowed only 1 hit and struck out 8 batters. Padgett also had 2 hits in the win.
Senior Hannah Bowen was 2-for-3 in the game with 1 RBI. Neelee Griffith was 1-for-3 with 1 RBI. Savannah Lafever knocked in the other run for the Lady Devils. Tanya Chavez also had 1 hit in the game.
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The Lady Devils wouldn’t let Happy Valley ruin their senior night festivities at Lady Devil Diamond on Thursday, April 20.
UCHS got on the scoreboard in the home half of the first inning when Chavez hit a solo home run, giving her team a 1-0 lead. The Lady Devils added another run the next inning on an RBI-groundout by Padgett that scored Hope Bailey.
Trailing 2-0, the Lady Warriors made the game interesting during the top half of their third inning. Taking advantage of a 2-out error by UCHS, Happy Valley scored 2 runs to tie the game.
The Lady Devils responded in their half of the fourth inning. Keelie Hall reached on a walk to start the inning. With Lafever at the plate, Bailey, who was brought in as a courtesy runner for Hall, stole second. Bailey then moved to third on a groundout by Lafever. Bailey later scored on an RBI by Padgett, putting UCHS in the lead for good.
Bowen then helped her own cause with a 2-run home run.
UCHS won the game 5-2.
Chavez was 3-for-3 at the plate with 1 home run and 1 RBI. Bowen was 1-for-3 with 1 home run and 2 RBIs. Padgett had 2 RBIs. Hall was 2-for-2 and Rylee Stiltner was 2-for-3.
Bowen threw 7 innings, allowed 4 hits and struck out 1 batter in the win.
Following the game, the Lady Devils recognized seniors Faith Bailey, Hannah Bowen, Ashley Edwards, Neelee Griffith, Keelie Hall and Savannah Lafever.
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The Lady Devils earned an easy 12-2 win over Sullivan North on Tuesday, April 18, in Erwin.
UCHS scored 4 runs in the first inning and 8 in the second to get the victory.
They had 14 hits, including 4 home runs – by Chavez, N. Griffith, Padgett and Halie Hawkins – in the game. Stiltner had 3 hits and 2 RBIs. Lafever had 2 hits and 3 RBIs. N. Griffith had 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Hawkins had 2 hits and 1 RBI.
Allee Griffith (3 innings, 3 strikeouts) and Bailey (2 innings, 4 strikeouts) combined to get the win in five innings.
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The Lady Devils are scheduled to travel to Sullivan South for their conference finale on Wednesday, April 26, at 4 p.m. A victory over South will secure a conference championship for Lingerfelt’s team.
The team will end the week in the Tiny Day Tournament being played in Greeneville. UCHS will open tournament pool play on Thursday, April 27, at 5:15 p.m. against Cherokee, then play North Greene at 6:30 p.m. later that evening. On Friday, April 28, the Lady Devils will play Cocke County at 5:15 p.m. and Greeneville at 6:30 p.m. Bracket play will take place during the weekend.
The District 1-AA tournament will be played at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin beginning next week. Game dates and times had not been announced as of The Erwin Record’s press deadline.