Region 1-AA Tournament: Lady Cyclones cage Grizzlies to secure region final, 9-5

Published 11:04 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

For the first three and a half innings of region softball being played at Elizabethton High School, the host Lady Cyclones were following bear tracks as they attempted to catch up with the visiting Grainger Co. Lady Grizzlies.

Once they did, the Lady Grizzlies were darted by the blazing bats of Elizabethton as the Lady Cyclones slammed the cage door shut down the stretch to gain a sixth rematch with Unicoi County on Wednesday in the region finals with a 9-5 win Monday evening.

The contest Wednesday will also be played at Elizabethton with the winner gaining a home sub-state game and the loser hitting the road.

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“We’ve been down 2-0 I don’t know how many games, and they are just not afraid of anything,” said Elizabethton head coach Ken Hardin. “They just keep on pecking away and do what they are supposed to.

“Unicoi Co. is going to be a battle like it always is. We will give them everything we have and they will do the same. We are still alive—that’s what is most important.”

After trailing 2-0 heading into the home half of the fourth inning, the Lady Cyclones quickly turned that deficit into a 3-2 lead in their turn at bat.

Maci West stroked a single to get things going in the inning. Haley Fair followed suit with a single putting Lady Cyclones at first and second with no outs.

Lefty Kira Dillard put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance runners up a bag. A Hannah Edwards groundout brought West home to cut the lead to 2-1.

Baylee Creasy reached on an error by Lady Grizzly pitcher Emily Agee placing runners on the corners. Creasy took second on defensive indifference.

Sophomore Maggie Johnson then pounced on an Agee offering sending a two-run single to center field scoring both runners for the 3-2 lead.

“We are always a little bit nervous, but I believe in my team,” said Johnson. “I would say the pitch was a little bit inside, but I just kept my hands in, and it went through just like we do in the batting cage.”

After holding Grainger Co. at bay in the top of the fifth, the Lady Cyclones tacked on four more runs to take a 7-2 advantage.

Macie Herrmann worked Agee for a walk and was picked up by Lauren Brickey who roped a single to center making it a 4-2 game.

West blistered a single to right putting Lady Cyclones on the corners once again. With one out, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dillard brought West home to extend the lead to 5-2.

Elizabethton kept it rolling when Edwards singled chasing Dillard to third.

Creasy was clutch as she smoked a double to left field allowing pinch runner Torrie Roberts and Dillard to make it 7-2.

The Lady Grizzlies made it interesting in the top of the sixth when catcher Ramsey Thomson sent a Brickey pitch out of the field in a hurry for a three-run homer cutting the lead to 7-5.

Elizabethton responded quickly in the bottom of the frame to push the edge back to four runs.

Second baseman Kaylen Shell sent a pitch into center field for a double to lead off the inning. Herrmann followed with a bunt single and took second on defensive indifference.

Brickey then helped her own cause by lacing a single with both Shell and Herrmann racing home for the 9-5 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning.

Brickey and her Lady Cyclone teammates then took care of business defensively to hold the Lady Grizzlies at bay to earn the win.

Brickey, the pitcher of the year in the Three Rivers Conference, allowed the five runs on six hits going the distance while recording nine strikeouts for the win.