Three deep balls propel North Greene over Cloudland
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ROAN MOUNTAIN – A key Watauga Valley Conference softball showdown was held at Roan Mountain Community Park when the Cloudland Lady Highlanders welcomed the North Greene Lady Huskies to Roan Mountain.
The Lady Highlanders were needing a victory to keep pace in the conference for the two-seed with the Lady Huskies as the season speedily winds toward an end and tournament time is right around the corner.
Using three home runs in the game, the Lady Huskies built a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh and then had to hold off Cloudland’s rally to take a hard-fought 6-5 win back to Baileyton.
Cloudland jumped out quickly in the first inning as starting pitcher Karah Fields led off with a single and stole second base. Ryan Turbyfill drew a walk to put Lady Highlanders at first and second with no one out.
After Taylor Hicks was retired, Heaven Caraway stepped to the dish and put down a perfect bunt that allowed both runners to come home on the play as North Greene struggled to make a play on the infield.
The Lady Huskies managed to escape without any further harm leaving Caraway standing on third base.
North Greene shaved a run off in the top of the second inning as Zoe Sanders led off with a single. Kylee Jones worked a walk from Fields and an error on a ball hit by Eliza Brown allowed Sanders to scamper home to make it a 2-1 game.
After holding the Cloudland offense at bay in the bottom of the second, Lady Huskie senior catcher Hailey Kirkpatrick sent a Fields pitch deep over the right-center field fence to even the score at 2-2.
Neither team could do any damage in the fourth and fifth inning even though the Lady Highlanders loaded the bases with one out but were unfruitful in getting a run across to break the deadlock.
North Greene took their first lead of the contest in the top of the sixth again thanks to a long homer to center field off the bat of sophomore right fielder Anna Weems to make it a 3-2 Lady Huskie lead.
Cloudland couldn’t slice into the lead in the bottom of the sixth setting up the seventh inning in a very, very good softball game.
With one out, Brown was back in the mix with a single. After taking second on a wild pitch, Brown came home on a Cambell Gaby RBI single.
The Lady Highlanders looked to get out of the inning after getting Kirkpatrick on a groundout to second for the second out before Weems went yard for the second straight inning for a two-run shot giving North Greene a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Needing a big rally, Kendall Birchfield led things off with a single to start the inning. Back-to-back singles by Fields and Turbyfill drove Birchfield home to make it a 6-3 game.
Hicks smashed a single scoring both Fields and Turbyfill but Hicks was left out to dry as she was caught in a rundown between first and second base.
The Lady Highlanders couldn’t get anything else rolling as they fell 6-5 in the final.
Watauga Valley Conference Standings
W L W L
Unaka 7 0 16 14
North Greene 3 1 7 6
Cloudland 4 3 5 9
Sull. North 4 3 4 14
University 2 7 2 11
Hampton 0 6 0 15
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