REGIONAL CHAMPS!!! Lady Cyclones hold off Greeneville, gain home sectional

Published 11:40 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
GREENEVILLE – The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones added another chapter to the book they have been writing in their storybook season as the Lady Cyclones traveled to Greeneville and left with a 2021 Regional title and a home sectional game against Knox Gibbs on Friday at Lady Cyclone Diamond.

Jumping out front 6-0 early, the Lady Cyclones watched as the Lady Greene Devils battled back to pull within one run before the Elizabethton defense arose to the occasion and held on for a 6-5 victory to clinch the title.

Elizabethton scored three runs in the top of the third and fourth innings while Greeneville scored two in the fourth, two in the fifth, and one in the bottom of the sixth to set up the final showdown in the seventh.

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In the third inning, the Lady Cyclones put together their scores with one out. Maely Ingram got things going with a single and took second when a ball of the bat of Maddie O’Quinn couldn’t be corraled resulting in an error and putting Lady Cyclones on first and second.

Ember Jensen’s reached when the Lady Greene Devil pitcher couldn’t handle a ball off her glove.

With the bases juiced, Lady Cyclone pitcher Madisun Pritchard helped her own cause by ripping a bases-clearing double to stake her team to a 3-0 advantage.

Elizabethton continued to build their lead in the top of the fourth adding three more runs to their side of the scoreboard.

Mollie Johnson got things going with a single to start the frame. A Cheyenne Poiroux bunt attempt ended in an out.

Emma O’Quinn followed by reaching on an error by the Greeneville pitcher putting Lady Cyclones at first and second with one out.

After Ingram grounded into a fielder’s choice eliminating Johnson for the second out, Maddie O’Quinn roped a double to score Emma O’Quinn and Ingram to make it a 5-0 Lady Cyclones lead.

Jensen worked a walk and Pritchard put the bat on the ball for a single chasing Maddie O’Quinn home with Lady Cyclone head coach Kenneth Hardin rolling the dice sending Jensen to the plate but a solid throw retired Jensen to bring the inning to a close with a 6-0 Lady Cyclone edge.

Greeneville shaved into the Lady Cyclone lead in the bottom of the fourth when Ashlyn Rachon planted a Pritchard pitch high and deep over the left-field fence to score Laicy Darnell who had singled to make it a 6-2 contest.

The Lady Greene Devils kept coming in the bottom of the fifth as Ansley Collins rang a solo home run off the scoreboard to make it a 6-3 contest.

Ella Moore followed with a single and was brought home on a Darnell double closing the gap to 6-4.

Leah Phillips got Greeneville even closer in the bottom of the sixth as she reached on a Lady Cyclone error. A sacrifice by Madison Carpenter advanced Phillips to second where she would score on a Collins double to make it a 6-5 contest heading to the seventh inning.

After Elizabethton couldn’t score any insurance runs in the top of the seventh, it was up to the Lady Cyclone defense to slam the door shut.

Third baseman Maddie O’Quinn retired Laicy Darnell on a pop-fly out to open the bottom of the frame. Rachon followed suit by flying out to right fielder Ingram for the innings second out and when left fielder Emma O’Quinn gloved a fly ball by Lydia Darnell, the celebration was on with the Regional title in hand.

Pritchard led the Lady Cyclones offensively with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate driving in four of the six Lady Cyclone runs. Maddie O’Quinn recorded a pair of RBIs on her hit while Ingram, Jensen, and Johnson each added a base knock.

In the pitching circle, Pritchard toed the rubber for all seven innings allowing eight hits, five runs, striking out three, walking three, and issuing the two home runs.

Meanwhile, Lady Greene Devil pitcher Kaley Bradley also went the distance issuing seven hits, allowing six runs, striking out three, and walking six Lady Cyclones.

“I think it gave us all confidence that we could go out there and hit her and do it,” said Pritchard on her bases-clearing double early in the game. “I knew my defense was going to back me up.”

“They are a great team and we knew that but I also knew my #16 (Pritchard) wasn’t going to quit,” said Coach Kenneth Hardin after the hard-fought contest. “There in the last inning I just told her that she had worked so hard for this, just to go back out there and take over and be in charge and she did.

“In that last inning, she faced their three best hitters and got them all out. A great play in left field there and Maely made a play in right. We just made plays.”

With the victory, the Lady Cyclones will play host to Knox Gibbs who lost in their regional final to Union County by a 7-6 score. The sectional game will be played Friday with the winner advancing to next week’s Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.