Cloudland Jr. Lady ‘Landers rout U-H Lady ‘Bucs in doubleheader

Published 8:48 am Monday, May 6, 2019

The weather was forecasting rainstorms for the Roan Mountain area on Thursday, but the real storm came on Cloudland’s middle school softball field as the Lady Landers routed the University High Lady Bucs, 18-4 and 20-0, in a softball doubleheader.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Cloudland struck quickly and jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

A stifling Cloudland defense and excellent pitching then held University High scoreless until the third inning.

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The Jr. Lady Bucs finally got on the board in the top of the third when fielding errors and pitching mistakes brought in four unearned runs.

Unfortunately for University High, Cloudland made sure this was as close as the Lady ‘Bucs would get for the night.

The hot bats of the Lady ‘Landers scored four runs in the first inning, nine in the second inning and six in the third inning to finish all scoring in game one at 18-4.

Cloudland pitcher Ella Benfield got the win for game one with reliever Kendall Birchfield coming in during the fourth inning to seal the win for Cloudland.

Birchfield struck out three Jr. Lady ‘Bucs batters.

Ryan Turbyfill scored four times for the Lady ‘Landers, but almost every member of the Cloudland team scored at least once during game one.

Game two of this doubleheader was more of the same.

It was the Lady ‘Landers early and often by bat and glove. During this game, Ryan Turbyfill took to the mound and pitched another no-hitter for Cloudland.

Meanwhile, Cloudland batters were giving University High’s pitchers a hitting clinic.

The Jr. Lady ‘Landers scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and another 13 runs in the bottom of the second to make the score 20-0.

Every Cloudland batter scored during this game as the game was stopped after the top of the third inning because of the mercy rule.

The Jr. Lady ‘Bucs brought a very young team to Roan Mountain and according to Coach Maura Ditto, most of their team were only in the sixth grade.

“We only have one eighth grader and one seventh grader on the team and the rest are in the sixth grade. We are still learning and many of these girls have never played softball before. They really have a lot to learn,” stated Ditto.

According to Coach Ditto, one of their pitchers had never stepped onto the mound to pitch before Thursday night.

“One of our pitchers, Avery Nelson, had never pitched before tonight,” stated Ditto. “We are just inexperienced and still have to learn the fundamentals of the sport.”

Though Cloudland’s Coach Tim Blair was pleased with the night’s games, he still found things Cloudland needs to fix on defense. “We are still making stupid mistakes on defense, especially in the infield,” said Blair. “I was pleased with our pitching tonight, but errors, like we had tonight, will really come back to hurt us during the playoffs.

“We have to correct those.”

Cloudland can use these wins as a confidence builder as they enter the playoffs. The middle school playoffs start on Tuesday. Cloudland will play at 5 pm and they will have to travel to Johnson County. Their opponent for the first game of the TMSSA playoffs will be University High.