Lady Cyclones slip past East, earn region berth

Published 12:48 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

A day after falling to Unicoi, the Lady Cyclones again found themselves in a tough spot during Wednesday’s District 1-AA softball tournament in Elizabethton.

This time, however, Elizabethton’s Maci West, with the Lady Cyclones down 6-5  to Sullivan East in the sixth, answered the call with a hard two-RBI single to propel the Lady Cyclones past the Lady Patriots, 7-6.

“I just get out there and hit,” said West about when she finds herself in a tense moment. “I knew we needed to score one run at least, and that is what I did.”

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The victory kept Elizabethton’s season alive earning them a seat at the district championship against Unicoi and a berth into the Region 1-AA tournament.

Elizabethton head coach Ken Hardin said that what makes this group of Lady Cyclones so tough is their ability to keep it together during hard situations.

“I don’t think they ever lost their composure tonight,” said Hardin. “Even last night (against Unicoi), we didn’t lose our composure. We came back and put the tying run on third and winning run on second, and we just didn’t get the hit.

“These girls work so hard on fundamentals, trying to do the right thing, trying to do your job,” added Hardin. “. . . This bunch has been there. They have been through everything. Our record is not the best this year, because we have played the best teams we possibly could to prepare us for stuff like this. This is a tough bunch.”

The two teams headed into the fifth with Elizabethton holding a 5-4 lead over East. The lead quickly switched up as East’s Kayden Bawgus connected with a pitch from Elizabethton’s Lauren Brickey for a two-run homer, moving the Lady Patriots ahead 6-5.

Brickey shook off the home run as she and Lady Cyclones defense kept the Lady Patriots at bay. Brickey said that whenever anyone gets a home run on her, she doesn’t get down. She just gets more determined.

“Whenever someone hits a home run off of me, it just makes me want to pitch it even harder,” said Brickey. “I know I have always got my defense behind me.”

One big defensive play for the Lady Cyclones came in the sixth when Elizabethton left fielder Kira Dillard ran down a deep shot from Sullivan East to keep a potential run off the base paths.

“That was a big catch,” said Brickey. “I am very thankful for my left fielder because she is like my best friend. I was very excited about her catching that.”

Brickey also had a big night at the plate as she hit two homers, one of which was a two-run shot in the third inning. Brickey finished the night with three hits and three RBIs.

“To be honest, I have been struggling hitting my pitch,” said Brickey. “My dad told me before this game, ‘Please, just go up there and hit your pitch and do what you do.’ So that is what I did.”

Overall the Lady Cyclones had 12 hits with Elizabethton’s Macie Herrmann, Maggie Johnson, West, and Dillard all getting two hits apiece.

The Lady Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Lady Cyclones tied things up 1-1 in the bottom of the opening with a home run from Brickey.

Elizabethton took a small 2-1 lead in the second when Johnson brought home teammate Hannah Edwards with a single.

The Lady Cyclone moved to a 5-1 lead in third with three runs before East answered with three runs in the fourth frame.

Elizabethton will now face Unicoi in the championship game Thursday at 5:30 p.m.