Junior Lady Cyclones drop home opener

Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2020

In between the intermittent rain that fell Tuesday afternoon at T.A. Dugger, the Junior Lady Cyclones were struck by lightning from a sixth-grade pitcher.
Unicoi County Middle School sixth-grader Noly Cooper pitched a one-hitter while striking out eight as the Junior Lady Devils took a 10-1 win over the Lady Cyclones.
The Devils (2-0) rapped out 10 hits with leadoff hitter Katlyn Nelson going 3-for-3 while also reaching on an error. Faith Bennett drove in three runs with a second-inning, bases-loaded double and two more with a fifth-inning double finishing with five runs batted in for the game.
“I was really proud of her especially with the weather,” Lady Devils head coach Stephanie Howard said of Cooper. “She kept her composure after a couple of walks.
“She is just a sixth-grader and we are really proud of her. Katlyn is a leader for our team. She and a couple of other eighth-graders are constantly leading our team in the right direction and set an example for the younger girls.”
Nelson led the game off with a bloop double down the left-field line, just fair and she came in to score after a wild pitch and she slid safely under the tag of T.A. Dugger catcher Mollie Johnson for a 1-0 Devils lead.
Kaynzie Jones sacrifice fly late in the inning staked UCMS to a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Cooper went to work right away striking out the first two Lady Cyclone hitters she faced before Johnson reached on an error and stole second. She was left stranded however when Hannah Morgan popped out.
In the second frame, Bennett’s double to centerfield cleared a bases-loaded situation that saw all three runs come in with two out in the stanza.
Miley Woodward singled as did Nelson and Kaley Toney drew a walk to set up Bennett’s shot to the centerfield fence that made it a 5-0 contest.
In the third inning UCMS once again pushed a run across with two away as Kianna Woodward, Chloe Moore and Miley Woodward each singled to load the bases and an infield error by TAD made it a 6-0 game.
“She is a tough pitcher,” TAD head coach Justin White said of Cooper. “She was hitting her spots throwing strikes and they didn’t give us anything. They had a good solid defense and had just one error all game. Got to give them credit.”
UCMS pushed another run across in the fourth on a pair of Cyclone miscues and TAD (0-1) got on the board in the last of the fourth when Johnson reached on an error, stole second and a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for a potential big inning.
Johnson scored on a wild pitch but that was all the offense the Jr. Lady Cyclones could muster and the Jr. Lady Devils added three more runs in the top of the fifth with two coming across on Bennett’s second two-base hit of the game.
Unicoi Co. M.S. 10-1
UCMS 231 13 – 10 10  1
TAD    000 10 –   1   1  5
W – Cooper. L – VanHuss.

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