Lady Rangers earn District 1-A softball title shot
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
GREENEVILLE – The Unaka Lady Rangers are one game away from claiming the District 1-A softball title after Coach Kenneth Chambers and his team defeated the Sullivan North Lady Raiders in one semifinal game played at Legion Field in Greeneville.
Unaka took a 7-0 lead into the seventh inning before North hung two runs on the board to give the game its final score of 7-2 in North’s final at-bat as a team as next year they will be part of the new West Ridge High School.
The Lady Rangers put their first run on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Hailey Gilman doubled home Lyndie Ramsey.
Unaka added two more in the bottom of the third inning as Sadie Shoun led off with a walk and took second on an errantly played fly ball off the bat of Trinity Bowers with Taylor Grindstaff coming in as a courtesy runner for Bowers.
Alana Parsons sacrificed both runners up a base with Noelle Collins taking care of business with a two-RBI double plating both runners making it a 3-0 Unaka advantage.
The Lady Rangers kept building the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning adding three more scores to make it a 6-0 game.
Kylie Blevins led off with a walk and took second on a single by Bowers with one out. Grindstaff came in to run for Bowers and Parsons delivered a double that scored Shoun and put Grindstaff on third base.
Collins picked up two more RBIs when she laced a single to left field scoring both Parsons and Grindstaff.
Parsons sent a no-doubter over the center field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning to give her team a 7-0 advantage.
North continued to show fight however in the top of the seventh when Nash led off with a single and came home on a Glover home run over the left-field fence to make sure North wouldn’t end the game with the goose egg still hanging on their side of the scoreboard.
Bowers settled to strike out two batters sandwiched around a walk and Blevins put an end to the game when she snagged a fly ball to center for the third out.
The win gave the Lady Rangers an overall season mark of 24-16.
“We have gone through a spell where we were hitting the ball really well and then we started facing pitchers that were slower than dirt and it kind of got our focus off,” said Chambers after the game.
“We are just having a hard time shifting back and forth between speeds. I thought Trinity did a good job pitching and we had some good hits. Alana and Noelle hit the ball well. There was a couple of base running errors with our younger players but they will have to learn from that.”
Unaka will square off against North Greene for the title Thursday night once again in Greeneville.