Lady Rangers take region opener over Greenback

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A five-run, third inning outburst propelled the Unaka Lady Rangers to a 6-0 victory over Greenback in the region 1-A opener played at Ronnie Hicks Field on Monday.

Freshman pitcher Sadie Shoun scattered six hits for the Rangers while walking one with one strikeout.

“I know that my defense is behind me, whether I throw balls or strikes I’m just trying to do the best I can if they do hit it,” Shoun said. “I know we want to go to state real badly and we are coming together as a family.”

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Greenback started Hailee Stevens in the circle and she held Unaka (26-15) down for the first two frames on no hits but in the bottom of the third, the Ranger bats came to life.

Taylor Shanks opened with a single to center and one out later Alana Parsons also collected a base knock to put runners on first and second.

With two away Shoun delivered a double to right field to plate two runs and senior Ericka Potter doubled to deep centerfield to plate the third run of the stanza. Lily Kiser then singled home Potter and Unaka led 4-0.

“I know that not only do I have to help myself out I have to help the team,” Shoun said of her two-RBI hit. “No matter what situation I am in.

“My curveball was working really good and I knew they were moving up in the box for it but it was still my best pitch. I’m not all about speed but movement.”

The Rangers weren’t through yet, however, as Noel Collins drew a free pass and an infield error at shortstop for the Lady Cherokees saw the fifth run of the inning come across for Unaka.

“We finally saw her a little bit and what she was doing,” Lady Rangers head coach Kenneth Chambers said of Stevens. “She’s a very good pitcher and a good all-around player.

“She had hits about every time up and we had a hard time keeping her off the bases. We were trying to be too patient at first but then went up there looking to hit and I thought we did a really good job then.”

Twice in this contest, the combination of Shoun’s pitching and the Rangers defense held the Cherokees scoreless despite a leadoff double.

The first one came in the fifth when Lauren Morton – who finished 2-for-3 – doubled to open the frame.

Shoun then retired Sidney King on a fly ball to left, Brooklyn Jones on a tapper back to the circle and Madison Hood on a ground ball to short.

In the seventh – trying to keep the shutout intact – Shoun surrendered a two-bagger to Carrie Underwood to open the inning. She then retired Morton on a comeback grounder to the circle for the first out.

She then got King to pop to second base where Collins made a fine grab going behind the bag to make the catch and the last out came when Jones hit a sharp single to right where Parson’s – playing shallow – was able to throw her out at first for the final out of the game.

The Rangers scored a run in the last of the fourth on a single by Parsons, who finished 2-for-3 on the night and she scored two outs later when Potter’s ground ball to short was dropped by the first baseman for the second error of the night for Greenback.

Senior leadership and Potter said this about the Unaka rally and her role in helping lead this squad, “Taylor Shanks got it started off and we just tried to keep the energy going. I think all the seniors are doing good keeping everyone together and playing as a family.”

Region 1-A semifinal

Unaka 6-0

Greenback 000 000 0 – 0 6 2

Unaka        005 100 x – 6 9 0

W – Shoun L – Stevens