Unaka survives 13-inning thriller to win Region 1-A title

Published 8:52 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

For Corie Schuettler and the rest of the Lady Ranger seniors, there will be one more game in Stoney Creek.

Unaka rode a 13-strikeout performance from Schuettler and key defensive plays from players down the stretch to pick up a hard fought 2-1 win over North Greene in Friday’s Region 1-A championship game in Carter County.

The Lady Rangers (27-12) will host a 1-A sectional game against Tellico Plains on at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. North Greene will make the trip to Sale Creek.

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Friday’s contest only furthered the respect Unaka has for their district foes, according to head coach Kenneth Chambers. The teams met six times during the season with Unaka holding the 4-2 season advantage.

“Coach (Danny) Weems and his staff do a great job,” Chambers said. “I thought our girls played hard together. They didn’t quit. They could have easily quit at any time. I commend both teams on their play tonight and the community coming out to support the teams. We’ve been trying to get this game in for days.”

Unaka had the momentum rolling in the top half of the 13th inning when Madison Pierce helped orchestrate a double play to end a Lady Huskie threat.

“I’m happy for her. She was just trying to make a play and she does a great job,” Chambers said of his third baseman.

With the bases load in the bottom of the 13th, Lilly Kiser ripped a line drive to right field and a slight miscue from North Greene allowed Taylor Shanks to score and clinch the Lady Rangers’ a home substate game.

“This is huge,” Schuettler said about having one more game in Stoney Creek. “Hosting a substate game is the best feeling ever. This will be the last time for us seniors on our home field. We’re hoping to go off the field with a bang and go back to state.”

Schuettler kept her composure in the circle throughout the game, with Chambers adding he believed she could have kept going if needed.

“I wasn’t getting tired because I was wanting to win so bad,” she said with a smile. “We really wanted this game.”

Unaka and Tellico Plains are no strangers. Both teams met in last year’s substate game with the Lady Rangers taking the game, 9-3.

“Tellico’s a great team and they were a great team last year,” Chambers said. “They jumped out early on us and we had to fight to get back in.”

Tellico enters the substate contest with an 18-8 record and fell in the Region 2-A championship game to Sale Creek, 5-1.