Lady ‘Landers advance past Hampton

Published 7:04 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN

STAR CORRESPONDENT

ROAN MOUNTAIN – Despite drizzly conditions the Cloudland Lady Highlanders started hot in their District 1-A softball playoff game against Hampton. The ‘Landers collected eight hits and scored three runs in three separate innings in a 10-0 six-inning victory.

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Karah Fields started in the circle for Cloudland (6-6 overall, 5-3 district) and she pitched well despite the conditions that affected her accuracy at times. Fields allowed just one hit – a third-inning leadoff single by Sarah Orr – while striking out eight with two walks.

“I struggled a little bit because the balls kept getting wet, but it’s no one’s fault but mine,” Fields said. “I got a little frustrated with the rain, but I got into the groove of it. I don’t like making excuses, I thought we could play a lot better but I’m glad that we made it through and were moving on.”

Cloudland gave Fields run support with three runs in the last of the first with Heaven Caraway delivering an RBI double and she scored later on a wild pitch. Taylor Hicks brought Jasmine Birchfield in to score after an infield single for a 3-0 lead.

The Lady ‘Landers added three more runs in the second frame with some opportunistic base running from Fields and Gracie Freeman as their speed forced Hampton into miscues.

Two Lady Bulldog errors allowed two runs to score and Kaylen Fields drove in a run with a ground ball and Caraway scored on the second error of the frame after an infield hit.

“You got to get that first one to advance so it’s good to get that,” Lady ‘Landers head coach Matt Birchfield said. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as we could, but Karah threw the ball well from the mound and played real well for us. Heaven Caraway had a couple of big hits a couple of RBI’s she played well.”

Cheyenne Fair settled into a nice groove retiring eight of the next nine Cloudland hitters with an infield error in the mix that didn’t hurt her. In the fifth, the ‘Landers scored a run on a miscue that saw Jasmine Birchfield score from first base on an errant throw.

“I can’t tell you the last time we took Cloudland past three innings,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Chelsey Weddle said. “I have a good young team with just five seniors, so the future looks bright. We played much better defensively, Abbie Willis made two great plays in leftfield and Cheyenne, let me tell you about her.

“I had her in eighth grade when I was middle school coach and I pitched her a little bit, then COVID hit and she didn’t pitch at all, but now I just threw her into the fire and she has done well.”

The ‘Landers closed this one out in the last of the sixth with three runs. Ella Benfield walked and scored on a stolen base and an errant throw and Kendall Birchfield singled to centerfield. Birchfield came around to score on a grounder off the bat of Saharra McKinney and Caraway plated the last run with a hard ground ball.

District 1-A Softball

Cloudland 10-0

Hampton 000 000 – 0 1 5

Cloudland 330 013 – 10 7 1

W – Karah Fields. L – Cheyenne Fair.