Lady Cyclones top Sullivan East

Published 3:27 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Lady Cyclones used a strong defensive effort and a late game drive to push past the Sullivan East Lady Patriots in the opening round of the District 1-AA tournament hosted at Unicoi County High School.
East kicked off the top of the first but was quickly shut down by some handy work from Elizabethton’s infield. With three up and three down followed almost immediately by a sudden home run from Lady Cyclone pitcher Lauren Brickey, it appeared early on that the game could be a runaway.
Starting off the second inning down 0-2, the Lady Patriots buckled down on the defense, and the game quickly became a stalemate. Although contact on the ball was strong throughout the game on both sides, neither team were able to reach home until the fourth inning when Sullivan East began to load up the bases and landed a hit into left field to gain an RBI and their first run of the evening.
The pace of the game remained slow through the fifth but drastically changed in the sixth as the Lady Patriots managed to land a home run of their own to tie up the score. With two outs and all eyes on the batter, Elizabethton’s Maci Herrmann stepped up to the plate and secured the critical hit of the game, a grounder into left field that batted in pinch runner Kaylen Shell and set up a huge turn around.
“I can’t say enough about Maci’s big hit,” reflected Head Coach Kenny Hardin “That drive that put us up one, but you never relax at District Tournament time. This was a complete team victory. I think everyone in the lineup did something for the team at one time or another. We had a couple of big hits, a couple of big walks at the right time. That gave us a couple of base runners. Even the pinch runners we put in, two out of three of them scored. It was a total team effort for our girls.”
When asked about her contribution, Herrmann admitted it was a big accomplishment.
“I needed to get it on the ground, that’s all I knew. That was my main goal,” Herrmann explained. “We wouldn’t settle for that one run, but it made me feel a little better about it. I think we were nervous. We started to calm down, and in the sixth inning we realized we needed to buckle down and get some hits in.”
Once the ice was broken, the hits kept coming and were made all the more effective as East’s defense began to show signs of strain. The Lady Patriots could have shut down the rally early but missed an easy popup into right field and gave away a couple of essential walks that let the Lady Cyclones push through a total of seven runs before the third out could shut them down.
Trailing 9-2, East had one last shot to regain ground as they came up to bat in the seventh inning. Despite a strong show of fighting spirit right down to the very end, the Lady Patriots could never muster a rally of their own, ultimately ending their season and advancing Elizabethton on to the next round of the tournament where they will face off against the Unicoi County Lady Blue Devils.

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