Unaka falls in close affair with Sale Creek

Published 11:17 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

For five innings, the Lady Rangers hung close with a tournament favorite.

But an early spurt of offense was all Sale Creek needed to escape with a 3-0 victory over Unaka Wednesday evening in the second round of the Class A state tournament held at Starplex Field in Murfreesboro.

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With the loss, the Lady Rangers (29-13) will have to battle out of the elimination bracket to continue their season. Unaka will meet Whitwell Thursday morning and will stay alive in the tournament with a win. A loss will end the Lady Rangers’ season.

Sale Creek was able to rattle the cage early in the first inning plating two runs. Macie Stanfield (2-for-4) handled the brunt of the her team’s offense by knocking in two RBIs in the contest. Sale Creek plated the final run in the second.

But the Lady Rangers, who only mustered four hits in the game, did not back down.

Taylor Shanks (2-for-3) led the Lady Rangers at the plate and helped orchestrate a pair of would-be rallies that were thwarted by Sale Creek. Savannah Tipton, who added a base hit, added a highlight-worthy play under her belt with a snag in right field that saved a potential run being scored. Lady Ranger Tayla Potter also added a run-saving snag in left field. Erika Potter and Sarah Tipton also came up with key stops at shortstop and centerfield, respectively, for the Lady Rangers.

Unaka senior Corie Schuettler tossed a respectable game from the circle, giving up three runs off eight hits with five strikeouts.

Lilie Kiser added Unaka’s final hit of the evening.

For Sale Creek,who finished with eight hits, Hannah Hall joined Stanfield with a two-hit performance to lead the team.

Unaka’s opponent, Whitwell (22-16-1), started off the tournament with a 6-2 loss to Summertown. They were able to hold off elimination Wednesday with an 8-0 shutout over South Fulton.

Updates from Thursday’s contest with be available on social media, the Elizabethton Star website and the Friday print edition of the  paper.