Back to the ‘Boro: Lady Rangers fend off Tellico Plains to earn state trip

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, May 19, 2018

It has been a busy couple of days in Stoney Creek for the Unaka Lady Rangers.

Following a 13-inning victory over North Greene Friday night and graduation Saturday morning, the Lady Rangers held on to top Tellico Plains, 2-1, in a TSSAA Class A State Sectional matchup Saturday evening in Stoney Creek.

The win punched Unaka’s second-straight ticket to the TSSAA Spring Fling Championships in Murfreesboro next week. And according to Unaka senior pitcher Corie Schuettler, the Lady Rangers have unfinished to attend to in the ‘Boro.

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“We have been talking about it since last year,” she said. “We didn’t play at all as good as we can down there. We knew that we have to get back and prove that we deserved to be there last year.”

After tossing 180 pitches Friday night against North Greene, Schuettler worked another seven innings Saturday. The senior had seven strike outs while holding the Lady Bears to three hits and one run.

“I couldn’t let my arm hurt,” said Schuettler. “I just had to block it out, and I had to throw my game and get a win for my team.”

The Lady Rangers didn’t waste much time getting on the scoreboard as Madison Pierce, who reached on a triple, scooted home on an RBI single from senior teammate Katlyn Weaver, giving Unaka a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

“I just got up there and I knew that we really needed it,” said Pierce. “I wanted to help my teammates out and wanted to get to the ‘Boro again.

“It’s the best feeling,” added Pierce about getting another trip to the state tournament. “I love it for our seniors, because they do everything for us. And Corie has tried so hard, and I am glad she gets to go back down there again.”

Unaka took a 2-0 lead in the second as senior Lady Ranger Sydney Markland popped a double to score teammate Tayla Potter.

The game would go scoreless through the next three innings as both teams played tight defense. For the Lady Rangers, Erika Potter would make six catches for fly outs, one of which was a diving snag in the sixth inning. Over the third through fifth innings, the Lady Bears would have four runners reach base, however, the Lady Rangers would keep Tellico Plains at bay until the sixth inning.

In the sixth frame, Tellico Plains scored on a home run to tighten things up 2-1 heading into the seventh inning.

“She hit that home run, and we got a little down,” said Pierce. “But I got in the circle and talked to Corie and told her that it was ok. We went back to the dugout and got excited, because we knew that we only had three outs to go.”

And the Lady Rangers made those outs quick in the top of the seventh. Markland scooped up a grounder and tossed it to first baseman Taylor Potter for an out, before Schuettler struck out the next two batters. The Lady Rangers and fans erupted into celebration with Schuettler running straight to home plate to hug her catcher Weaver.

“This is something that they have worked on every day,” said Unaka head coach Kenneth Chambers. “Last year, we went down there and played two really good team, and I am sure that we will go down there this year and play two good teams again. We are just really excited to see what we can do this year.”

The Lady Rangers finished the night with six hits as Weaver and Tayla Potter each recorded two. Both Weaver and Markland, had an RBI a piece.

The state tournament starts this Tuesday in Murfreesboro.