Lady Rangers take down North Greene for district title

Published 1:44 am Friday, May 11, 2018

The “if-necessary game” was not necessary Thursday.

The Unaka Lady Rangers jumped ahead early and didn’t give up the lead, topping North Greene 6-1 for Unaka’s second-straight District 1-A title in Stoney Creek.

“The girls just did a really great job,” said Unaka head coach Kenneth Chambers. “They just came together. They have been playing really good. They have stayed pumped up. They are excited and want to keep on winning. They want to keep on playing. If they keep doing what they are doing and Corie (Schuettler) keeps pitching like she’s doing, I think we have every opportunity to keep going on down the road.”

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After Lady Rangers senior pitcher Corie Schuettler stuck out three-straight Lady Huskies in the top of the first, it didn’t take long for the Lady Rangers to establish themselves as Unaka senior Katlyn Weaver hit a two-run homer out of left field in the bottom of the frame. The quick lead was key in helping the Lady Rangers earn the title, said Chambers.

“Every time we have played each, whoever had got ahead first has really won the game,” he said. “It was important for us to jump out ahead of them. That really got us going.”

Weaver’s home run came on the first pitch she faced. North Greene pitcher Megan Whaley tried to sneak a screwball past Weaver, but that did not work too well.

“We needed it,” said Weaver about her first-inning home run. “We had to come up and really hit the ball. She was trying to pitch us outside and she started moving back in because we were all crowding the plate. I just backed up and swung. I am really proud of us, and we are not stopping.”

One Lady Ranger that was really hitting the ball Thursday night was senior Sydney Markland. Markland had a 3-of-3 night while also scoring two runs.

“I just wanted to do all I could for my team today,” said Markland. “I just walked into the box and said I was going to hit it every single time. I didn’t hit against her (Whaley) well last time. So I was ready to get in the box and hit.”

The Lady Rangers had nine hits overall Thursday with Sarah Tipton recording two while teammates Madison Pierce, Katlyn Weaver, Erika Potter, and Lilly all had hits. Potter, Kiser, and Savannah Tipton all had RBIs.

Schuettler, who was named the Watauga Valley Conference season and tournament Most Valuable Player, had an MVP performance Thursday as she tossed all seven innings. Schuettler struck out 11 Lady Huskies against two walks. Schuettler had just one run and four hits on her en route to picking up the win.

After Weaver’s two-run blast in the first, the Lady Rangers scored again in the second inning as Markland came home on an error at shortstop after Sarah Tipton put the ball into play.

Unaka moved to 4-0 in the third after Erika Potter scored on a fielder’s choice by Kiser.

The contest went scoreless in the fourth before the Lady Huskies posted a run in the fifth. The Lady Rangers answered in the bottom of the sixth with Markland and Pierce each being walked home after reaching first with singles.

The Lady Rangers will now host the runner-up out of District 2-A for the first round of the Region 1-A tournament Monday.

“The next game is do or die,” said Schuettler. “We have to be ready to come out and play. We have to come out and put them away early.”