Lady Cyclones stand tall in District 1-AA: Take two big wins to capture crown over Unicoi Co.

Published 12:37 am Friday, May 11, 2018

The Elizabethton Lady Cyclone softball team could very well be compared to a wild leopard who meticulously maneuvers its way into a position to pounce on its prey without warning and then strikes with cat-like reflexes to overcome their unsuspecting target.

That held true in both games of the District 1-AA softball finals played on Lady Cyclone Diamond Thursday night taking game one by a 9-2 score and then storming back in game two in the ‘If Necessary’ game to win, 3-2.

Championship Game

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Elizabethton 3, Unicoi Co. 2

Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of fifth inning, the Lady Cyclones worked to even the score at 2-all on the strength of a single by right fielder Maggie Johnson followed by Kaylen Shell’s single to place Lady Cyclones at first and second base.

Senior Macie Herrmann did what any good player does and that was to take what was given her as she turned on a pitch and kissed the chalk down into the left-field corner allowing both Johnson and Shell to race home to make it a new ball game at 2-2.

“It was definitely inside but that is my favorite pitch,” said Herrmann on her game-tying hit. “I turned on it and it felt good.

“We were determined. I think that loss the other day just made us determined to win today. We worked harder and pulled through and that’s what we are all about.”

Pitcher Lauren Brickey did her job in the top of the sixth as she faced the minimum number of batters in the inning to set her team up in the bottom of the frame.

Catcher Haley Fair blistered a one-out double to fire up the Lady Cyclone bench. After the Lady Blue Devils recorded the second out of the inning, third baseman Hannah Edwards roped a ball toward right field that could not be fielded by the Lady Blue Devil fielder allowing Fair to romp home with the go-ahead run giving ‘Betsy a 3-2 lead.

“It was a full count, and all I could think about was getting Haley home,” stated Edwards. “I didn’t care how I got there or how I was going to get her there, I was just wanted to win for my team.”

With the game hanging in the balance, Unicoi County couldn’t get much bat on the ball as Brickey enticed three consecutive fly-ball outs to Shell at second base to set off a celebration by the team in the pitching circle with the district title securely in hand.

Shell and Johnson led the Lady Cyclones at the plate rapping out two hits apiece. Herrmann, Fair, and Edwards each had one.

Brickey earned the win going four and two-thirds of an inning with three strikeouts and no walks or runs allowed.

Kellie Cunningham, who pitched a masterful first game for the win, opened and covered two and a third innings of play giving up the two runs on four hits.

“I can’t take credit for starting Kellie,” said Cyclone head coach Ken Hardin. “The first game she went out there and gave us everything she had in the first game throwing a lot of fly balls and her defense played hard behind her.

“To be frankly honest with you, it was her and Lauren’s ideal. Both of them came together between games and said they wanted to do it that way,” continued Hardin. “Lauren said that she was ready, but Kellie was throwing great. I am proud of the job that Kellie and Lauren did.”

Game 1

Elizabethton 9, Unicoi Co. 2

Knowing they needed a win to force game two and a shot at the title, Elizabethton won big to ensure the opportunity would be theirs.

Trailing 2-0 heading to the top of the fourth inning, the Lady Cyclones playing as the visitors evened the score at 2-2 before erupting for three in the fifth and four in the seventh to seal the win.

Cunningham went the full seven innings allowing the two runs on eight hits while allowing two walks.

Offensively, the Lady Cyclones were powered by Haley Fair’s 4-for-4, 3-RBI performance at the plate and a 3-for-4 showing from Brickey.

Shell, Herrmann, and Johnson had two hits apiece while Maci West, Kira Dillard, and Edwards each had one hit.