Rock ’em, Sock ’em softball… Lady Blue Devils upend Elizabethton in winner’s bracket play
Published 10:34 am Tuesday, May 11, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones were happy having the number one seed coming into the District 1-AA softball tournament but they knew the road ahead was going to be filled with a team just over the mountain in Erwin that they were going to have to deal with if they were going to have an opportunity to capture the District Tournament.
After winning the two regular-season contests in narrow affairs over Unicoi County to gain the home-field advantage, the Lady Blue Devils took their frustrations out on Monday evening at Lady Cyclone Diamond by winning 10-5 in the winner’s bracket final.
The Lady Cyclones by no means are finished – it just makes the road a little more challenging as Coach Ken Hardin’s young team will have to beat the winner of the East and Johnson County game Tuesday evening and then take two from the Lady Blue Devils to capture the tournament.
In the long battles over the years, this has often been the case for one team or the other.
The only thing that distinguished who took this game was the fact that the Lady Blue Devils were able to get key hits and put the ball where the Lady Cyclones couldn’t get to it as both teams swung the sticks extremely well as Unicoi collected 13 hits while the Lady Cyclones had 10.
And the hits weren’t just little taps but hard-hit balls that left no doubt when they left the bat as the Lady Blue Devils had a double from Leah Edney and Buchanan while B Chavez delivered a no-doubt home run.
The Lady Cyclones, meanwhile, had doubles from Kallista Deprimo, Mollie Johnson, and Ember Jensen while Jensen and Madisun Pritchard ripped the hide off the softball for back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Deprimo’s double lacked about three inches being out of the park as well.
Unicoi County took control of the game in the top of the fifth after trailing the Lady Cyclones, 2-1, up to that point.
The Lady Cyclones jumped out front in the bottom of the second when Deprimo collected her double and Mollie Johnson did her job in sacrificing Deprimo to third base.
A hard-hit ball by Kenidy Harris to first baseman Caroline Podvin allowed Deprimo to score when the throw was dropped by the Lady Blue Devil catcher to state ‘Betsy to a 1-0 lead.
Elizabethton added to the lead in the bottom of the third when Maely Ingram singled to center field and Maddie O’Quinn moved Ingram to second base on a sacrifice bunt.
A double from Jensen sent the speedy Ingram home to make it 2-0 Lady Cyclones.
Unicoi County got on the board in the top of the fourth inning when Chavez sent a ball quickly over the right-field fence to make it 2-1 Elizabethton.
After holding the Lady Cyclones at bay in the bottom portion of the inning, the Lady Blue Devils erupted for seven runs to make it 8-2 heading to the bottom of the inning.
The Lady Cyclones weren’t about to give in as with two outs Jensen delivered her home run to center field and was followed by Pritchard’s shot to left field to make it 8-4.
Unicoi County quickly got the two runs back to make it 10-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Elizabethton got its final run in the bottom of the inning as Johnson roped a double to center field. Johnson took third on a passed ball and scored on a Harris single to right field.
The Lady Cyclones now must turn their focus to Tuesday’s Loser Bracket Final to be played at 7 pm at Lady Cyclone Diamond.