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Lady Rangers season ended by Whitwell in 7-1 loss

MURFREESBORO— The Unaka Lady Rangers came out looking to cage some Tigers so the journey could continue for their four seniors.

In the end, it was the Whitwell Lady Tigers that slipped free of the trap set by the Lady Rangers to send Unaka back to Stoney Creek for the second year in a row with a 7-1 Whitwell victory at the Starplex Softball Complex.

Early lead sets pace for Lady Tigers

After a scoreless first inning, Whitwell playing as the visiting team reached the scoreboard four times with two outs on three singles, a double and a walk to take a 4-0 lead.

Kynlie Higdon slapped the double to record the first run for the Lady Tigers.

A Lilie Kiser walk was the only base runner that Unaka had through two innings.

Trying to get a little footing

The Lady Rangers tried their best to get jump-started in the fourth inning after both teams had been playing strong defense.

With two outs, Unaka got another walk from Kiser and Noelle Collins followed with a single putting runners at first and second.

Whitwell escaped damage by recording a strikeout of Kendall Bare.

Lady Rangers keep battling

After Whitwell added a solo run in the top of the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth inning, Unaka showed that the maroon and white still had some fight left in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Pitcher Sadie Shoun slapped a single to center field to get things rolling in the inning. Senior Erika Potter stepped to the dish and roped a double to center that chased Shoun to the plate to make the score 7-1 with no outs.

Kiser continued the hit streak with a single of her own to put runners on the corners.

However, the Lady Rangers saw the rally stall after a line-drive off the bat of Collins caught up Beth Lowe off the bag for the double play.

Bare went down swinging to end the sixth-inning uprising.

With the season on the line

The Lady Rangers came to the dugout in the bottom of the seventh knowing it would take six runs to keep the season alive.

Unfortunately, Whitwell’s defense made a stand allowing only an Alana Parsons single before ending the fantastic season for the Lady Rangers.

Saying goodbye is hard

The Unaka Rangers were blessed with four seniors who helped lead the young team to a state appearance and a state win to close out their outstanding careers.

It will certainly be tough to replace Madison Pierce, Erika Potter, Tayla Potter, and Taylor Shanks.

“We couldn’t ask more out of our seniors,” said Lady Ranger coach Kenneth Chambers. “I am just super proud of them and we will miss them a whole lot.

“Hopefully this will help build Unaka softball on down the road.”

Final thoughts from the coach

“The second inning we had a couple of errors and they hit the ball really well and at this level if you make any errors whatsoever, it’s hard to come back,” said Chambers. “It took us later on in the game to start to figure out how to hit their pitcher.

“We started to hit the ball and then they started to make good plays. Every team at this level is good and if you are going to make mistakes, its going to come back and bite you,” continued Chambers.

“The big reason we didn’t win is that we didn’t make enough contact earlier in the game. I was super proud of our girls—they played their guts out. Everybody that played did an excellent job and they put it all out on the line.

“These girls have played their best ball at the end of the year.”