Rangers advance to District Title
Published 10:32 am Friday, May 12, 2023
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BY C.Y. Peters
Kenneth Chambers, Unaka Rangers used a three-run fifth inning to advance to the District Title and a Regional birth with a 4-3 win over Cloudland. The Landers led most of the game; they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Ryan Turbyfill made her way to first, then Kendall Birchfield hit a home run over the center field fence.
The Rangers would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the second when Alisha Harrell walked and would score on a Katlyn Dugger shot to right field. Both pitchers Trinity Bowers for Unaka and Turbyfill for Cloudland were doing their job, keeping runs from scoring. No one would score again until the bottom of the fifth when Hailey Taylor bunted her way on; then Bowers hit one to center field. Both would score when Mollie Buckles sent one to the left field fence giving the Rangers a 4-2 lead.
Ella Benfield hammered out a double in the top of the sixth, with two balls and two strikes count. She would score when Laken Blair sent a long fly to right field, pulling the Lady Landers within one, 4-3.
It was a quick sixth inning at bat for the Rangers, three up and three down. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Cloudland’s last chance Savannah McCoury slashed a hit back up the middle to keep the Landers alive. Then about a 20-30 minute break, when Unaka’s right fielder tried to make a catch in foul territory, ran into the fence and stepped into a hole, turning her ankle or knee. Once the game returned to action, Bowers took a couple of warm-up pitches, then forced the batter to hit one right back to her for the third out and the final play, leading her Rangers to a 4-3 Regional birth. Salyer and Buckles led the Rangers going two for three. Birchfield led the Landers going two for three and a home run.
Unaka 0 1 0 0 3 0 x -4
Cloudland 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 -3