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The Unicoi County Lady Devils have completed a list of goals tothis point, and another slash can go through the next line of the list.
“Trip To Murfreesboro.”
Unicoi County (45-4) wrapped up the regional championship with a 1-0 win over the Black Knights from Chuckey-Doak early last week, which placed them with a sub-state game at the Lady Devil Diamond against Kingston Academy (29-14).
Coach Grady Lingerfelt’s squad answered the call on Saturday, with a 6-2 win and punched their ticket to the state tournament to begin on Tuesday.
“It was the same as the Eastmen Tournament,” coach Lingerfelt explained about the game. His girls played Kingston in the championship game of the Eastman Tournament that resulted in a 6-4 for the Blue Nation. “Kingston came out and hit us first, they have a great ball club, but I’m proud of the way our girls rallied back.”
Morgan Snow and Katherine Butler contributed to Kingston’s scoring efforts, with back-to-back RBIs to give the Lady Devils a quick 2-0 deficit to work with.
Makisha Fuller was the final at-bat for Kingston. With the Lady Devils in the circle, Kara Woods struck Fuller out, to get out of the inning.
The strikeout would set the tone for the rest of the game for the Devils.
“I was a little nervous,” Woods said about the first inning. “I was able to calm down afterwards. I knew we could do it. I think we’ll be able to go down to Murfreesboro and make some noise.”
The calm composure was shown in the bottom of the first, with a two-run homerun that brought in Woods and Haley Tittle, who advanced on a walk at the previous at bat.
“I wasn’t expecting to hit it out,” an ecstatic Kara Woods said after the game. “But it was nice and it helped us out a little.”
Following a three up and three down on a strikeout for Kingston in the top of the second, the Lady Devils struck homerun gold again behind the bat of first baseman Brittany Depew.
“It was satisfying,” Depew said. “I got a pitch I liked and hit it.”
It was the first baseman first homerun of the season, with the slugger having shoulder surgery after state tournament play.
The Devils would hold Kingston scoreless throughout the rest of the game, and Woods finished with seven strikeouts.
Base running was key to Unicoi’s next score with shortstop Jessica Presser, who was hit by a pitch, scoring on a wild pitch that placed the game at a 4-2 lead for Unicoi.
A two-RBI hit by Kelsey Peterson wrapped up the scoring for the Devils.
“Basically we’re a year older,” Lingerfelt said about his state-bound squad. “We’ll be less nervous, we’re more matured, we’ve been down there before and we’ll be ready to play.”
For lead-off batter Whitney Webb, Depew and Woods, it’s become more of a routine during these situations, with the ladies making school history by being the first group of girls to advance to the state tournament four years in a row. That distinction included a 2009 state championship.
“I’m excited,” Depew said. “Being able to make it four in a row is exciting. I can’t wait.”
Head coach of Kingston Acadeny, Ronnie Ladd, sang Unicoi’s praises after the game.
“I knew they were tough,” Ladd said. “They’ve got a great program, and (Kara) Woods is a great pitcher. She’s been to state and knows what to do.”
“(Kara) is one of the players you get once in a lifetime,” Lingerfelt said. “We’ve got a group of phenomenal kids and I’m just proud of them.”

Regional Championship Game: Unicoi County at Chuckey-Doak
Defense was the word of the day during the regional championship match between Unicoi and Chuckey-Doak in Afton on Wednesday.
A double play in the seventh inning, that was produced by Haley Tittle, Jessica Presser and Depew, halted any chance of a Black Knight rally as the Devils defended their regional crown with a 1-0 win.
The win marks regional title number 13 for Unicoi County.
Woods produced the only RBI, with a hit in the first that gave the girls the needed run to win.
Woods finished in the circle with 10 strikeouts.
Christian Ward, held Unicoi scoreless after the first, recording four strikeouts, in a game that could only be described with two words — pitchers duel.

Regional Semifinal Game: Grainger at Unicoi County
Late-inning heroics by the Lady Devils wrapped up the game for Unicoi on Monday, with a 6-5 win over Grainger at the Lady Devil Diamond.
Coach Grady Lingerfelt’s squad was trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning until a two-run homerun by Kara Woods knotted up the game. That set up clean-up hitter, Shea Pearson, for a walk-off situation, hitting the homerun that wrapped up the game for the Lady Devils.

This Week
The Lady Devils will be in Murfreesboro on Tuesday playing against the Chester County Lady Eagles.