Errors plague Jr. Highlanders in battle against Liberty Bell

Published 1:30 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

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By Ron Marvel

Star Correspondent

One of the earliest lessons a ball player can learn is that when you are playing against a good team, you can’t extend an inning by defensive lapses. The Junior Lady Highlanders had that lesson reinforced Thursday night in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated, as they lost a 9-3 game to the Liberty Bell Lady Patriots.

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The Junior Highlanders made the trip down to Metro-Kiwanis in Johnson City and found themselves in a hole early, as the Lady Patriots scored two runs off an error to post the early lead. After getting out of the second inning without much trouble, the Lady Patriots struck again, as once again a couple of errors in the middle infield cost them two more runs, making the score 4-0 after three innings.

Cloudland was able to cut the lead in half in the top of the 4th as Khloe Jones sent a single up the middle to plate Willow Bennett, who had reached earlier on a single of her own, and Ayla Horney to make the score 4-2. The bottom of the fourth would see the Lady Patriots get a couple of runs back off a triple from Emma Markland before Lady Highlanders’ third basemen Chella Arnett would make a nice play off a hard-hit ball to get out of the inning. The Lady Highlanders would threaten in the top of the 5th inning putting runners on second and third, but the Lady Patriots would induce a strikeout to end the threat.

The 6th inning would see the Lady Patriots add three runs off a couple of triples to push the score out to 9-2. However the Junior Lady Highlanders would battle to the very end, Tanaka Issac would rope a line drive past short and Sophia Moore would bounce a double off the right-center fence to plate her. Abriella Jones would then smack a shot up the middle but Lady Patriots second baseman Ella Markland would snatch the ball out of the air to end the game.

Ayla Horney would be solid off the mound giving up just three earned runs while scattering nine hits she would also strike out six. After the game, Head Junior Highlanders Coach Corie Schuettler reflected on the loss “We have to understand when we play good teams we have to play clean, we can’t give good teams additional opportunities. We beat a good Unicoi team earlier in the year, but we played clean in that game, that’s what it’s about we also have to learn to make adjustments in our approach, when we made this schedule we put difficult teams on it that I knew would challenge us and make us better” Schuettler shared. The Junior Lady Highlanders will next play host to Grandview on Monday night.