By Keeli Parkey
A needed Three Rivers Conference victory slipped away from the Unicoi County High School softball team (25-6, 7-2) last week.
Having already lost to Elizabethton this season, Grady Lingerfelt’s Lady Devils had a chance to even the league standings when the Lady Cyclones came to Erwin on Wednesday, April 18 – and for five innings it seemed the Lady Devils would do just that.
After Elizabethton took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, UCHS responded in the home half of the inning. Halie Padgett hit a single that scored Halie Hawkins. Padgett and Sydney Miller then scored on a single for Grace Ann Clark as the Lady Devils took a 3-2 lead. Elizabethton tied the game at 3 in the second inning.
The Lady Devils reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Rylee Stiltner’s single scored Ashtan Vance and Chloe Powers. Once again, the Lady Cyclones responded, tying the game at 5 in the top of the fifth inning.
UCHS wasn’t ready to relinquish control of the game just yet. In the bottom of the fifth, Vance hit a 2-run home run for a 7-5 lead for Erwin’s ladies.
A 4-run sixth inning gave the Lady Cyclones control of the game as the Lady Devils couldn’t put another runner across the plate the rest of the game. Three runs in the seventh gave Elizabethton the 12-7 victory.
Vance was 3-4 with a home run in the loss. Clark was 2-4 with 2 RBIs. Padgett was 2-4 with 1 RBI. Stiltner was 1-3 with 2 RBIs. The Lady Devils out hit Elizabethton 13-12, but 5 errors by the Lady Devils were costly.
The win gave Elizabethton control of the conference race. The Lady Devils remained in second place as of The Erwin Record’s press deadline and will most likely go into next week’s District 1-AA tournament as the number two seed.
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The Lady Devils defeated conference foe Sullivan South, 5-2, on the road on April 17.
After UCHS took a 2-0 lead during the opening at-bat, South answered with two runs of their own. The Lady Devils took the lead for good in the fourth when Chloe Powers hit an RBI single. UCHS added one run in the fifth and in the seventh and held South scoreless to hold on for the win.
Allee Griffith was 3-4 with 2 RBIs in the win. Clark was 2-4. Stiltner was 2-3. Padgett and Chloe Powers each had an RBI.
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The Lady Devils were scheduled to face Sullivan East on the road in conference action on Tuesday, April 24, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. They will play in the annual Tiny Day Tournament in Greeneville from April 26-29.
The Lady Devils will wrap up the regular season with a double-header against conference opponent Johnson County on Tuesday, May 1, beginning at 5:30 p.m.