A softball dandy… Lady Cyclones fight off Happy Valley attack for TRC win

Published 5:09 pm Friday, April 23, 2021

HAPPY VALLEY – When you are the conference front runner, all records go out the door as the target is squarely pasted on your back with everyone hoping to find the bull’s eye to bring you down.

The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones quickly found that out on Thursday when they visited Happy Valley for a Three Rivers Conference showdown in which Coach Ken Hardin’s Lady Cyclones managed to overcome a strong pitching performance from HV’s Abby Holt to take a 5-1 win and stay in the driver’s seat of the conference.

Runs were at a minimum in the first four innings of play as the Lady Cyclones managed to hang a single run in their half of the second inning. to lead 1-0 heading into the fifth.

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That run came after Ember Jensen led off the inning with a single to left field. Jensen used her speed to swipe second base before Southwest Virginia Community College signee Kallista DePrimo roped a single to right field.

Jensen was sent home by Hardin and barely slide past the tag attempt of Happy Valley catcher Maddie Lingerfeltf or the first run of the game.

Between the bottom of the second and the top of the fifth, starting pitchers Madisun Pritchard of Elizabethton and Abby Holt were mixing up a variety of pitches to keep the opposition in a quandary trying to figure out how to get on base.

Just like in their previous meeting, the Lady Cyclones finally managed to break through in the top of the fifth inning to place four runs to take a 5-0 lead.

Emma O’Quinn opened the frame with a single to centerfield. Holt enticed Maely Ingram to an infield fly before Maddie O’Quinn attempted to sacrifice bunt her sister to second base.

The Lady Warriors committed an error on the play as both O’Quinn’s stood safely on base.

Another error on a ball hit by Mollie Johnson allowed Emma O’Quinn to race home making it a 2-0 contest. Pritchard helped her cause when she laced a single to centerfield that chased Maddie O’Quinn to the plate.

Holt managed to strike out Jensen for out number two before it was DePrimo once again doing damage with a single to center which brought courtesy runner Dana Holsclaw and Johnson in to make it a 5-0 Elizabethton lead.

The Lady Warriors scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out.

Laura Rice reached on an error and was followed by an Olivia Absher single to center that allowed Rice to scamper to third and Absher to second on the throw.

A groundout by Lady Warrior catcher Lingerfelt scored Rice for the Lady Warriors solo run of the contest.

Holt went the distance for Happy Valley giving up six hits and five runs while sitting down five Lady Cyclones on strikeouts. She walked three.

Meanwhile, Pritchard continued her impressive junior campaign as she recorded nine strikeouts while allowing only three hits and the one run to the Lady Warriors. She walked no one.

Coming into the game, Pritchard was leading Northeast Tennessee pitchers in strikeouts with 132. With her performance on Thursday, she stands at 141 for the season.

DePrimo was the lone Lady Cyclone with a multi-hit game collecting two hits in the contest. Maely Ingram, Pritchard, Jensen, and Emma O’Quinn made up the difference.

“We have not played for a couple of days and I was worried about that because Happy Valley has a good ball team,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Hardin. “The Holt kid throws the devil out of it and I knew she and Madisun were going to be in a pitcher’s duel today.

“We hit the ball pretty well today and put a little pressure on them by putting the ball in play. We didn’t get our bunts down like I like and wasn’t really pleased with that but overall you come down here and get a win its a big thing.”

Holt had two hits offensively to pace Happy Valley. Absher had the other hit for the Lady Warriors.

Things don’t get easier for Elizabethton as they host Sullivan East on Monday at 5:30 pm in a huge TRC showdown.