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Lady Devil softball team bests Sullivan East in postseason opener

After fielding a ground ball, Halie Padgett throws to first base for an out. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School softball team (34-7, 10-2) earned an easy victory in its first game of the District 1-AA tournament.

Playing at Elizabethton, the second-seeded Lady Devils got three RBIs from both Sydney Miller and Chloe Powers en route to their 10-0 victory over Sullivan East on Monday, May 7.

Grady Lingerfelt’s team took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI double by Miller and a 2-run home run by Halie Padgett.

The Lady Devils and Lady Patriots kept one another off the scoreboard until the bottom of the sixth inning, when UCHS scored seven runs. Powers got all three of her RBIs on one swing – a triple that scored Kaylia Street, Leah Edney and Ashtan Vance. Miller later singled and scored Powers and Halie Hawkins for an 8-0 lead. UCHS added two more runs to seal the mercy-rule victory.

Padgett gave up only 4 hits in the shutout. Grace Ann Clark was 2-2 at the plate. Allee Griffith was 2-3. The Lady Devils had 11 hits in the game.

The victory over East sent UCHS to the tournament’s winner’s bracket final where they faced Elizabethon – the top seed in the tournament – on Tuesday, May 8, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

With a win on Tuesday, the Lady Devils will play for the tournament championship on Thursday, May 10, at Elizabethton. The Lady Cyclones advanced in the winner’s bracket thanks to a 15-0 victory over Happy Valley on Monday.

With a loss on Tuesday, they will play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against either East, Happy Valley or Johnson County.

If they have to play on Wednesday, the Lady Devils will have to win that game to keep their season alive. If they win on Wednesday, the Lady Devils would face Elizabethton on Thursday and would have to defeat the Lady Cyclones twice to win the district. Advancing to Thursday will also give UCHS a berth in the regional tournament.

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The Lady Devils wrapped up the regular season and secured second place in the Three Rivers Conference with three victories last week.

First, UCHS defeated Johnson County 10-0 in both back-to-back games during a double-header played in Erwin on May 1. The team had 20 hits in the two games, including home runs by Tanya Chavez, Hawkins and Miller. Padgett earned the victory in the circle in the first game, while Griffith earned the win in the second.

The Lady Devils then went on the road on May 2 and defeated Sullivan East, 9-4. Padgett had 9 strikeouts and 3 hits in the win. Powers and Rylee Stiltner each contributed 2 RBIs.