Lady Buffs vanquish Cavs

By Kim Richardson
Star Correspondent
krichardson@starhq.com

   Milligan's Lady Buffs battled the elements and the Lady Cavaliers of Montreat (N.C.) Wednesday. Neither would get the best of the Lady Buffs as Carter County's finest swept Montreat in a blustery doubleheader.
   Milligan won the conference opener 8-3 behind the pitching of the pride of David Crockett softball, Brandy Waddle. Waddle walked none while recording 10 strikeouts with an array of pitches, including a wicked change-up that struck out LeAnn Lane twice.
   "She's strong, and today she was working all her pitches, placing the ball pretty much where she needed," said Milligan shortstop Shelby Banion.
   Banion started the game off with a single, scored on a single by Brooke Davis of Knoxville, who had three hits, including two doubles, and the Buffs were off and running. Leah Fritts scored on Ashley Mashburn's sacrifice fly, giving Waddle room to work.
   Banion said, "We're really glad to get outdoors, no matter the weather. We obviously have some kinks to work out, but this was a good start."
   It was a good start indeed for Banion.
   "Yeah, I'll take it," she said, referring to her three for four at the plate, then added, "several of us were hitting the ball hard."
   The big blow was delivered in the bottom of the fourth when Big Stone Gap, Virginia's Rebecca Gilley drew a walk. Then the promising freshmen duo of Megan Aldridge from Science Hill and Asheville's Amanda Verner got infield hits.
   Another hit by Banion scored Gilley before yet another freshman, Elizabethton's own Sarah Smith, drove in Aldridge. Knoxville's Fritts followed by scoring Banion and Smith with a single.
   In the sixth, Ashley Burpeau scored on a throwing error and Montreat was in the scoring column.
   In the sixth, Smith was at it again, scoring on another Davis hit, this time a double to right field.
   Waddle sat down for the seventh before Montreat managed to make things somewhat interesting by drawing consecutive walks with the bases loaded. Waddle was re-entered into the game and finished off the Lady Cavaliers, ending the game.
   Harrison No Hits Montreat
   Brandy Waddle's opening-game performance was impressive enough, but check out what Chipley, Fla., junior Traci Harrison did to close the Milligan home opening doubleheader.
   Like Waddle, Harrison walked no one while striking out eight. But Harrison also showcased enough talent to cause future opponents to take notice as she no-hit the Lady Cavaliers, 8-0.
   Rebecca Gilley summed it up after the game: "We have great expectations for our team. We're a young team; we're going to make mistakes. But we're driven, driven by a great coach and self-driven toward winning the conference championship.
   Time will prove Gilley's words fateful, faithful or both.
   The Lady Buffs bats were explosive throughout both contests. With Smith on the bases, they're a threat to score from first on a deep single.
   Waddle and Harrison demonstrated that Milligan's pitching is capable of keeping the Lady Buffs in most games.
   Kansas City's Courtney Ruth struggled in her first relief appearance in game one, but she swings a fast bat, runs very well, and the left-hander will certainly be a pitching force during this, her sophomore season.