Lady Highlanders down North Greene, 1-0

Published 9:19 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Lady Highlanders dug deep and held their composure Tuesday as they topped North Greene, 1-0, for a conference victory.

“Conference-wise, it is a big win for us,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. “We knew it was going to be a tough week for us with us having North Greene and Unaka.

“We had to battle to win one to nothing late in the game,” Birchfield added. “We made plays down the stretch I feel like. We just couldn’t get our bats going, but we finally got one in.”

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The Lady Highlanders are now 3-1 in the Watauga Valley Conference with Unaka leading the pack at 5-0.

With the game knotted at 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Cloudland senior Rein Strickland got on base after blasting it down the first base line. Strickland would work her way over third before being brought home by teammate Krisi Bare, who hit a pop fly that was dropped by North Greene’s pitcher.

The Lady Highlander defense would take over from there as they kept the North Greene off home plate. In the top of the sixth, the Lady Huskies at-bat was closed out with Cloudland catcher throwing out a North Greene runner at second during a steal attempt. The top of the seventh saw Cloudland pitcher Kenzie Birchfield retire two straight hitters before scooping up a grounder and throwing a batter out at first to end the game.

Birchfield picked up the win as she tossed seven innings. She finished with six strikeouts and just two hits against her.

“She held it together and really struck some kids out,” said Birchfield. “She made some pitches for us. She had two runners once and bases loaded once and struck out some big batters for us.”

In the top of the fourth, it looked like the Lady Huskies were going to score as they loaded up the bases with no outs. The Lady Highlanders, locked things down, as Cloudland’s second baseman Krisi Bare threw a grounder home for the force out before Birchfield struck out a hitter and Lady Highlander first baseman Leah Birchfield got an unassisted out to get Cloudland out of the bind.