Region 1-A Softball: Lady Rangers speed past Northview

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Steady hits up and down the line combined with a stellar job by the pitching staff paved the way for a huge regional tournament win at home for the Unaka Lady Rangers Monday night.
Playing against the visiting Lady Cougars from Northview Academy in Sevierville, Unaka commanded the game from the first inning and never gave up the driver’s seat, winning 17-0.
Sarah Hardin led the Ranger defense for the first half of the game, pitching two clean strikeouts from the outset.
By the second inning, Hardin was pitching a clean sweep, striking out three batters in a row. The few times Northview did make contact on the ball, Unaka’s infield was ready and waiting to shut the offense down. Even with such a strong showing, the game wasn’t perfect, and the Lady Cougars were able to take advantage of an error in the sixth inning to eventually reach third base.
With no outs and high hopes to put up a few late game runs, Northview managed to put the bat on the ball, but on all three occasions were caught out by first baseman Madison Ensor. Having done a tremendous job on the mound, Hardin turned the game over to relief pitcher Corie Scheuttler in the last few innings.
“I felt good about it,” Hardin said about her performance. “Our team’s really coming together. We’re fielding the ball well and starting to hit the ball well again. We’re excited. We’re just waiting on the ball, keeping our head on it. We had confidence.”
Scheuttler went on to put up a strong performance of her own, striking out the last three batters of the seventh inning to close out the game without a single Northview run. Yet, as strong as the effort was by the defense, Unaka had just as much success when they stepped up to the plate.
Hit after hit, the Lady Rangers sent runners home in every inning except the fourth, and even then were able to put players on first and third before getting the final out on a pop-up. Most of the early hits were singles, with the exception of a double by Kaitlyn Weaver in the first inning that earned her an RBI on courtesy runner Beth Lowe. Yet, Weaver’s biggest play of the evening came in fifth inning when she hit one of Unaka’s two homeruns and earned the second of 5 RBI’s overall.
Madison Pierce landed the other home run in the sixth inning, pushing the score to a double-digit lead at 13-0.
“We hit pretty good,” acknowledged Head Coach Kenneth Chambers. “She was a little slower than we’re used to, and we kind of worked a little bit for that. We just had to take our time but still be up there and be aggressive. Kaitlyn Weaver and Madison Pierce both got into it late. I just told Madison to go up there and be calm. She’s a great hitter, though they’re all good hitters. They get down on themselves sometimes, but I was proud of the whole team.”
Putting up 14 hits by the bottom of the sixth, Unaka went on to claim the win 17-0, an impressive feat for any regional showing and a welcome confidence booster as the team prepares to move on in the next round of the tournament.
When asked what this game meant moving forward Chambers commented that, “We have to take it one game at a time. We played pretty good as a team. I thought our pitchers did a pretty good job, both of them, but we know were going to run into some good teams. We just got to take it one game at a time and concentrate on playing hard together. This was a great team effort. I couldn’t ask for a better game.”
Unaka will host North Greene for the region championship Wednesday at 6 p.m. Monday’s win also ensures the Lady Rangers a sectional game.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox