Power Surge: Lady Cyclones bring hammer in 12-7 pounding of Unicoi Co.

Published 12:03 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

ERWIN— Never could two sports be so much alike as what was witnessed at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin on Wednesday evening when Elizabethton and Unicoi County squared off in a pivotal Three Rivers Conference girls’ softball showdown.

The game could have easily been compared to two heavyweight boxers who held nothing back in battling for a key win as the Lady Cyclones got the blow that counted to take down the Lady Blue Devils in the 12-7 win.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This bunch has grown up,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Ken Hardin. “Three years ago, if they had gotten down, they may have sat down there, but they just absolutely refused to.

“We don’t panic—we just come back and play,” Hardin added. “They kept punching back as it was like a heavyweight fight. Unicoi Co. is a great team, and I am really proud of the way the kids played tonight.”

Two Lady Cyclones who were bringing the leather, or more correctly the aluminum, were Maci West and Haley Fair.

West landed the first big uppercut with a two-run blast driving home Lauren Brickey that staked Elizabethton to a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the first inning.

Unicoi Co. countered with a three-run outburst in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-2 lead.

The Lady Cyclones quickly evened the score in the top of the third when Kira Dillard walked and scored on a double by right fielder Maggie Johnson.

After Unicoi Co. took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Lady Cyclones responded quickly with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth.

Shortstop Macie Herrmann was pegged to gain first base. Brickey followed with a single that put Lady Cyclones at first and second base.

Steady third baseman Hannah Edwards laced a one-out single to score Herrmann and bringing Brickey to third base.

A Fair fielder’s choice picked up Brickey to pull the Lady Cyclones even at 5-5 going into the bottom of the frame.

Once again Coach Grady Lingerfelt’s team responded by tacking on two runs thanks to a home run off the bat of Vance to push the Lady Blue Devils out front 7-5.

The lead would be short-lived as ‘Betsy unleashed for four runs in their half of the sixth inning.

Kaylen Shell got the Lady Cyclones rolling as she reached on a lead-off single. Herrmann did her job by putting down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt pushing Shell to second base.

Brickey followed with a groundout advancing Shell to third base. That’s when the Lady Cyclones went to work with two outs.

West was intentionally walked and was followed by an Edwards single scoring Shell with West going to second base.

That’s when Fair landed a sharp body shot as the catcher delivered a pitch over the left field fence into the lap of a Lady Blue Devil fan to give her team a 9-7 lead that put the Lady Blue Devils on their heels reeling from the shot.

It was like déjà vu for Fair who as a freshman helped the Lady Cyclones win the region title by taking a pitch over the same outfield fence.

“I just wanted to get a base hit and move Hannah,” Fair said. “We just have to always stay up because if we get it in our heads, we get down on ourselves.”

Elizabethton got the final knock-out punch from West in the top of the seventh inning that took what little breathe that Unicoi Co. had left.

Johnson reached on her second hit of the evening followed by a single off the bat of Shell. The Lady Blue Devils looked like they might work out of the jam, but West used the intentional walk as motivation and delivered a shot that left the field quickly to extend the lead to 12-7.

“I just knew how bad my team wanted to win this game,” stated West of her two-homerun performance. “I just wanted to do anything to help them.

“We just wanted to stay up and keep fighting.”

Brickey took care of business in from the pitching circle in the bottom of the inning to secure the win for the Cyclones and earn the victory from the circle as well going three and two-thirds of an inning allowing six hits, two runs, and fanning four Lady Blue Devils.

With the win, the Lady Cyclones kept a perfect conference slate at 8-0.