By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County High School softball team (30-7, 7-2) earned some hardware in the Tiny Day Tournament played in Greeneville from Thursday, April 26, through Sunday, April 29.
Grady Lingerfelt’s Lady Devils started the annual event in a pool with Morristown West, Cherokee, Chuckey-Doak and West Greene.
On Thursday, they defeated Chuckey-Doak, 7-0, to open the tournament. UCHS scored 1 run in the first and 6 in the second on its way to the win. Halie Padgett earned the win in the circle with 8 strikeouts. She was also 1-2 at the plate with 2 RBIs. Rylee Stiltner and Chloe Powers were both 1-2 with 1 RBI. Grace Ann Clark hit a solo home run.
Also on Thursday, UCHS fell to Morristown West, 7-3.
“We got beat by Morristown West in a mud fest,” Lingerfelt said. “It was raining when we started and it was raining when we were done.”
A 3-run third inning broke the game open for West.
Allee Griffith threw 5 strikeouts in the loss. Tanya Chavez hit a solo home run. Sydney Miller was 1-3 with an RBI. Griffith was 1-3. Powers was 1-2. Padgett had the team’s other RBI.
On Friday evening, the Lady Devils needed extra innings to defeat Cherokee, 11-9.
“We beat a really good Cherokee team in extra innings,” Lingerfelt said. “It was probably the best game we have played, by far.”
Miller hit 2 home runs and had 4 RBIs in the win. Stiltner was 3-4 with 3 RBIs. Griffith was 3-5. Halie Hawkins was 2-3, including a home run, and had 2 RBIs. Ashtan Vance was 2-2 with an RBI.
In their final pool play game of the tournament, the Lady Devils defeated West Greene, 7-0, on Friday night. UCHS held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning, then scored 5 more runs to seal the win.
Miller hit a solo home run in the game. Chavez was 2-2 with 2 RBIs. Griffith and Powers each contributed an RBI. Griffith threw 7 strikeouts.
With pool play at an end, two undefeated teams automatically qualified for the tournament’s gold bracket. Other teams, including UCHS, had the same record, so runs allowed was used to determine who would join the gold bracket. Because Cherokee gave up fewer runs than the Lady Devils, they were placed in the gold bracket while UCHS was placed in the silver.
Tournament play was held on Sunday where the Lady Devils defeated North Greene, 7-1, in the semifinal round. Four runs in the fourth inning helped lift UCHS past North Greene and into the championship.
Chavez was 2-2 with 3 RBIs. Miller and Powers were both 1-2 with an RBI each. Padgett had 9 strikeouts.
A 5-run third inning led to a 6-1 victory for UCHS over Greeneville in the silver bracket’s championship game.
Griffith threw 7 strikeouts and had 2 RBIs in the win. Miller, Chavez, Padgett and Vance each contributed an RBI.
“We played pretty well on Sunday,” Lingerfelt said. “I think we are getting better and are ready to play in the postseason.”
The Lady Devils hosted Johnson County in a doubleheader on Tuesday, May 1, in conference competition after the press deadline for this issue. The ladies are scheduled to travel to Sullivan East for a conference game on Wednesday, May 2, at 5 p.m.
If the ladies win both games against Johnson County, they will finish in second place in the Three Rivers Conference and will be the second seed in the upcoming District 1-AA tournament being held at Elizabethton. If UCHS is the second seed, they will open the tournament on Monday, May 7, at 8 p.m.
If the Lady Devils are the third seed, they will play on Friday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m.