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Softball team wins conference crown

Halie Padgett swings at a pitch during the Lady Devils’ loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville in the semifinals of the Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
Halie Padgett swings at a pitch during the Lady Devils’ loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville in the semifinals of the Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

The Unicoi County High School softball team closed out the Three Rivers Conference portion of their schedule with a win and a regular season championship last week.

Playing at Sullivan South on Wednesday, April 26, the Lady Devils (29-10, 11-1) held off a late rally by the Lady Rebels to earn a 7-3 win and another conference crown.

South challenged the Lady Devils last week, taking a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second inning.

UCHS went scoreless in the third, but took control of the game in the fourth inning, scoring three runs. Halie Padgett reached third base on a one-out triple. Allee Griffith later reached on an error which scored Greta Raby, who was brought into the game to run for Padgett.

Halie Hawkins then hit an RBI-double, scoring Griffith. Hawkins later crossed home plate on an RBI-single by Rylee Stiltner. The Lady Devils held a 3-1 lead after four innings.

Both teams were held scoreless in the fifth inning. UCHS broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs. Neelee Griffith’s single scored her sister, Allee, and Stiltner for the first two runs of the innings. Keelie Hall’s single scored Tanya Chavez from second base, then N. Griffith scored from third base on a passed ball for a 7-1 UCHS lead.

South added two runs in the home half of the sixth inning, but never threatened in the seventh as UCHS earned the win and the conference title.

Stiltner was 4-for-4 with an RBI in the win. Padgett was 2-for-4 at the plate and threw 5 strikeouts for the Lady Devils. Chavez, Savannah Lafever, N. Griffith (2 RBIs), Hall (1 RBI), A. Griffith (1 RBI), Hannah Bowen and Hawkins (1 RBI) had one hit each.

The conference title has the Lady Devils going into the District 1-AA tournament, which will be played at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin, as the top seed. They will play on Friday, May 5, at 5:30 p.m. Their opponent had not been determined as of The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

District play continues until Wednesday, May 10.

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The Lady Devils ended last week playing in the annual Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational Softball Tournament played in Greene County.

After last week’s rainy weather forced the cancellation of games on Thursday, April 27, the Lady Devils were able to play two games on Friday, April 28. First, UCHS defeated Cocke County 5-0 and then defeated Greeneville 10-5.

Against Cocke County, Padgett (3 Ks) and A. Griffith (2 Ks) threw three innings each for the win. Stiltner went 2-for-3 (1 RBI), Hall went 2-for-2 (2 RBIs), Hawkins was 2-for-3 and Chavez had 2 RBIs.

Against Greeneville, Bowen threw four innings for the win. Hawkins, Lafever and Bowen had 2 RBIs each. Hall and Padgett both had an RBI.

Pool play results set up a semifinal matchup between the Lady Devils and Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) – the team that has eliminated UCHS from postseason play in the substate round the last two seasons – on Sunday, April 30.

UCHS got off to a solid start, scoring one run in the top of the first inning when Stiltner scored on an error.

The third and fourth innings belonged to CAK. The Lady Warriors scored two runs in each inning to take control of the game. The Lady Devils couldn’t mount a comeback as CAK held on for a 4-1 victory.

CAK held UCHS to only four hits on Sunday. Stiltner was 2-for-2 and scored the Lady Devils’ only run. Chavez and N. Griffith had one hit each.