Fair homerun blasts Lady Cyclones to first-ever region title

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SP0519 EHS at Unicoi A copy
ERWIN—Elizabethton freshman Haley Fair may have made the biggest hit of her life during Wednesday’s Region 1-AA Championship at Unicoi.
In the top of eighth with the game tied at 2, Fair blasted a 2-run homer out of the park to give the Lady Cyclones a 4-2 lead that would eventually become a 4-2 win and Elizabethton’s first ever region championship title.
“I was shaking,” Fair said about how she felt as she rounded the bases after hitting her homerun. “I just went up there to get a base hit, and I just feel like we got the job done today.”
Fair’s homer wasn’t the only big homerun of the day. In the bottom of the sixth with EHS leading 2-1, Unicoi’s Tonya Chaves smacked a four-bagger to tie the game up at two heading into the seventh inning.
In a close game, the Lady Cyclones’ defense had to step up at different crucial times to fend off the hungry Lady Blue Devils.
After going three and out in the top of the seventh, the Lady Cyclones had to hold back the Lady Blue Devils, who just need one run for a walk-off win in the bottom of the frame. And things got a little scary for EHS. Unicoi lead-off batter Halie Hawkins reached on a single, before UHS’ Abby Hensley walked to first. With no out and two runners on base the pressure was high, but that pressure was quickly released when EHS third baseman Abby McKinney scooped up a shot by Ashley Padgett and tagged third for the forced out before turning a double play and throwing Padgett out at first. The inning was closed out with Chaves flying out to pitcher Lauren Brickey.
The Lady Cyclones were the first to get on board, with Kennedy Richardson bagging courtesy runner Katelyn Loudy with an RBI single in the top of the second to give EHS a 1-0 edge.
Elizabethton score again in the top of the second as Brickey came home off a RBI single from Allison Riddle. The Lady Blue Devils found home in the top of the third with Chaves scoring Padgett.
Brickey picked up the win for EHS, after coming in to relieve Kellie Cunningham in the sixth and tossing for roughly three inning.
At the plate, the Lady Cyclones had 10 hits. Kennedy Richardson went 4-of-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Jordan Grindstaff finished with two hits, while Riddle closed things out with two hits and an RBI. Fair had a homerun and two RBIs.
“We always play close with those guys,” EHS head coach Ken Hardin said about Unicoi. “They are such a tremendous team and program. This win means a lot to us.”
The Lady Cyclones will host the loser of the Region 2 championship game between Union and CAK on Friday at 5 p.m.
“We plan on packing the park, I can tell you that,” Hardin said. “I hope everybody in town is there.”

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