Lady Warriors defeat Cyclones, move on to championship game

Published 1:37 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Lady Warriors won their seat at the District 1-AA championship  table as they handed the Lady Cyclones a 5-1 loss on Tuesday during the District 1-A Softball Tournament.

With the win over EHS, the Lady Warriors guaranteed themselves a shot at Unicoi in the District 1-AA Championship today and a possible trip to regionals for the first time since 2004.

This is Happy Valley coach Mike Dorsey’s last season coaching the Lady Warriors, and the opportunity to play in the Region 1-AA Tournament means a lot.

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“It is tremendous,” he said. “I have been wanting to go ever since I got here. We were in a good spot last year, but it did not work out. ..I’m just glad today wasn’t my last day coaching.”

After holding off the Lady Cyclones in the top of the first frame, the Lady Warriors went to work early as they brought in two runs in the bottom of the inning, when both Kaylee Street and Beth Reece sprinted home during an error in right field hit by Kalee Johnson.

The Lady Cyclones went scoreless again in the second, but were able to return the favor during the second half of the frame as they held Happy Valley at bay. The last out of the inning came when EHS catcher Chesnee Hammons snatched up a short hit ball by Calli Davis and threw her out at first.

In the top of the third, the Lady Warriors were again able to hold the Lady Cyclones runless, with one out coming from Happy Valley’s first baseman, Kenzie Davis, who snagged a speeding grounder, before making the unassisted out at first.

Happy Valley did not waste its chance in the second half of the third, when Johnson brought home Kaityln Roberts with a single. During the same play, EHS made an throwing error at first to allow Street to make her way home and giving the Lady Warriors a 4-0 lead.

The Lady Cyclones were able to finally post a run in the fifth inning as Jordan Grindstaff tagged home after an error at third base.

The Lady Warriors scored one more time in the sixth as Johnson came home after a hard hit double by Sydney Puckett.

Leading the Lady Warriors from the mound was Johnson, who threw all seven innings. She recorded four strikeouts, while only allowing one hit.

Johnson also went 2 of 3 from the plate with one RBI.

“I have been in a batting slump,” Johnson said. “So it was nice to be able to do well tonight.”

For the Lady Cyclones, it was a season of rebuilding after losing a large group of seniors last year, and EHS head Coach Ken Hardin has seen a lot of improvement in his young team, he said.

“From where we started, it is unreal what these kids have done,” Hardin said. “With a real good off season, the sky’s the limit with this bunch.”

The Lady Warriors will hit the field today at 6 p.m.