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Lady Devils fall short of state tournament

The Unicoi County High School Lady Devil softball brought the boom stick in the entire season, but it was Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) that dominated offensively during the TSSAA Sectional on Friday, May 15, at CAK.
The Lady Warriors hit the Lady Blue Devils with a 12-run first inning and held on to earn a 12-2 victory and advance to the state tournament.
The loss ended the 2015 season for the Lady Devils. UCHS ended the season with a 43-5 record.
Allison Zimmerman got things going early for the Lady Warriors in the first with a shot to left field, driving in the first run with three on base.
CAK held a 4-0 lead with two outs in first, but Lady Blue Devil miscues allowed the Lady Warriors to tally up eight more runs and take a 12-0 lead into the second inning.
While the Lady Blue Devils spotted CAK the runs in the first inning during the rainy affair, the Lady Devils defense settled down and held the home squad off the board the rest of the way.
Tiffany Laughren kept UCHS from going scoreless in the contest, knocking in her final home run of her career and the team’s 55th of the season. Haley Webb also added an RBI single in the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough to get the CAK below 10 and the game ended after the Lady Devils’ at bat in the top of the fifth.
The Lady Blue Devils ended the season with a long list of accolades. UCHS won regular season tournaments including the East Tennessee Classic, Eastman Invitational, NFS Classic and the Tiny Day Red Edmonds Invitational.
While hitting the 40-win plateau, a feat not accomplished by UCHS since 2012, the Lady Blue Devils won their 20th District 1-AA championship in over 21 years.
The Lady Blue Devils met Greeneville for the third time this season on Wednesday, May 13, at Hardin Park for the Region 1-AA championship.
UCHS carried one-run advantage into the sixth inning, but a three-run home run by Lady Green Devil Cayla Wood propelled Greeneville to a 5-3 win.
Webb and Abby Hensley got things going early for the Lady Blue Devils and Laughren brought the hammer with a stand up triple, plating both runs to give UCHS an early 2-0 advantage.
Destinie Hayes also added an RBI fielder’s choice to give her team the 3-0 lead at the end of the first frame.
Nadalynn Sauceman and Lorena Leon gave Greeneville their two runs before Woods’ game-winner in the sixth.
UCHS kept the fight alive in the seventh, Webb got aboard on a base hit and Hensley battled at the plate, forcing Greeneville pitcher Jordan Fortel to throw over 10 pitches.
Later on with two aboard and two outs, Taylor Wright cranked a ball to right field that looked to have enough to clear the fence, but a running grab by the Lady Green Devil right fielder ended the contest.
Laughren added a stalwart effort on the mound in the loss, striking out 10 Green Devils in the game.
The loss to Greeneville sent the Lady Devils to Knoxville to face CAK in the sectional round. Greeneville’s victory allowed them to have a home sectional contest, which they won on Friday, May 15.
The Lady Blue Devils were able to resume Monday’s Region 1-AA semifinal contest against Grainger on Tuesday, May 12, in Erwin with a 16-0 rout over Grainger.
Already holding a 1-0 advantage in the first thanks to Laughren’s RBI, the trio of Cassie Foster, Cierra Jackson and Hayes helped propelled the team to a 5-0 advantage heading to the third.
Hayes knocked in her third grand slam of the season, her seventh home run of the year, to move to advantage to 9-0.
Wright, Foster, Hensley, Jackson and Hayes accounted for the final seven runs of the game while Taylor Smith and Hannah Keasling added key moments in the outfield during the contest.
Laughren gave up two hits in the shutout.