Shoun’s effort from circle, plate lead Unaka to title

Published 9:09 am Monday, May 13, 2019



KINGSPORT— The final game of the District 1-A softball tournament at Sullivan North High School once again pitted two county foes against one another.

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Cloudland forced a game two against Unaka after a tremendous pitching effort from Kenzie Birchfield and looked to pull off an improbable tournament championship after losing their opening game in the double-elimination tourney.

The two teams left it all on the field and after a terrific pitching duel, the Lady Rangers stood victorious 5-3.

Unaka selected Sadie Shoun to lead them into battle with everything to play for.

The first batter Shoun faced was Karah Fields who took her down the first baseline for a stand-up triple. Leah Birchfield brought Fields home on a sacrifice fly.

The damage would end there as Shoun sat down the next two batters.

Cloudland went with Karah Fields starting from the pitching circle. An opening walk put Madison Pierce on base before the all-tournament selection, Shoun, slapped a triple down the first base line scoring Pierce.

After a pair of walks, Cloudland was forced to make a pitching change bringing Kenzie Birchfield back to the mound to try and calm the storm.

Birchfield, another all-tournament selection, struck out the first batter she faced but a sacrifice fly from Noelle Collins would bring home a run before a bad throw brought in a second. The score stood at 3-1 at the end of the first.

A single from Taylor Hicks started the second inning for the Lady ‘Landers and she didn’t stay on base long as her comrade Heaven Caraway would step up and knock her in with a single into left making it a 3-2 contest.

Unaka was quick to answer with another all-tournament selection, Tayla Potter, leading off the home half with a single into left. An infield hit from Pierce meant two on with one out for Shoun.

Shoun stepped in and picked up her second and third RBIs of the game which would conclude the scoring for the Lady Rangers making the score 5-2 Unaka.

The top of the third inning featured the start of a pitching duel that would last until the end of the game, as neither team got much offense going in the inning.

The fourth inning brought the final run for the Lady ‘Landers as Krisi Bare’s single to left would bring home Jasmine Birchfield making the score 5-3.

The last three and a half innings were a masterpiece of pitching and defense as neither team would yield and ultimately the Lady Rangers would stand tall as the champions of District 1-A.

Cloudland lost the game, but ultimately it was an incredibly tight game. “We just came up a little short on a hit here or there— it could’ve gone either way,” said Division 1-A Coach of the Year, Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield.

Next for Cloudland is a road trip to Cosby on Monday in the regional tournament.

As for Unaka, the championship was more than just a win but a testament to the grit of the team after losing the first game on Thursday.

“We found a way to regroup and come together as a family and talk about it. Actually, we got more fired up for the second game then we did the other,” Coach Kenneth Chambers said when speaking to the resiliency of his team.

Next for Unaka is a home matchup against Greenback in the regional tournament on Monday as well.




Tournament MVP- Erika Potter

Sadie Shoun

Tayla Potter

Taylor Shanks


Kenzie Birchfield

Kaylen Fields

Jasmine Birchfield


Watauga Valley

MVP- Kenzie Birchfield, Cloudland

Coach of the Year- Matt Birchfield, Cloudland

Madison Pierce- Unaka

Erika Potter- Unaka

Sadie Shoun- Unaka

Jasmine Birchfield- Cloudland

Kaylen Fields- Cloudland

Madison Setlock- Hampton