Lady Rangers succumb to David Crockett

By Marvin Birchfield

   JONESBOROUGH--Unaka's Lady Rangers were shot down in the home of the Pioneers on Monday, as David Crockett blasted the ball at the plate to win a decisive 9-0 battle.
   David Crockett came away with 12 hits in six innings, along with a defensive effort that never once folded.
   "We're young and when we play against someone who makes us play in different situations, we're going to make mental mistakes," said Unaka coach Ronnie Hicks.
   In the first frame, the Rangers were unsuccessful in capitalizing off a hit from Medora Carrier.
   It seemed like the Rangers were going to escape the first inning with minimal damage, but three straight hits after needing one more out was the upper hand Crockett was looking for.
   "We had four fielding errors and three throwing errors, and six or seven mental errors, so you can't play like that against a team that hits the ball," said Hicks.
   A hit from Ashley Mashburn drove in the Pioneers' first score, then a triple by Ashley Harriston brought three more scores across the plate.
   "This is the first day that we have broke out with the bat, and we've struggled with the other teams we have played, but we had several hits tonight," said Crockett coach Mike Moore.
   Amber Woods attempted to rally the Rangers in the second frame, when she knocked a single to shallow right field, but a strikeout from Hensley and a groundout by Danielle Williams stopped the Unaka momentum.
   The Pioneers had success from the plate to start the bottom of the second frame, when Jody Bigham and Hensley both came up with a hit.
   "I was really pleased with how my freshman played today. One of them had two hits and two RBIs, and the other one hit with one RBI, so that tells you what's coming ahead," said Moore.
   Unaka made two great defensive plays by getting a force out at third base twice, but an error on a pop fly allowed Courtney Briggs to score.
   After a throw-out from second base to home plate for the last out, the Rangers trailed 5-0 after two innings of play.
   David Crockett continued their dominance in the third frame, when Southerland smacked another triple which brought home Mashburn.
   Southerland scored after a throw to third base gave her the opportunity to head home.
   The Pioneers pushed their lead to 9-0 in the fourth frame, after a couple of infield mistakes resulted in two runs.
   "These kids are going to make those kind of mistakes until they have practiced and have learned how to play in those kinds of situations," said Hicks.
   Heather Waycaster came home when the Rangers were having trouble in deciding where to throw the ball.
   The last score of the game came off a fielding error, which enabled Mashburn to score her third run of the night.
   A double to center field by Emily Elliot was the only hit Unaka captured in their last three innings at bat.
   David Crockett tried to end the contest early in the fifth frame after starting off with two straight hits, but the Ranger defense held with Woods making a catch on a pop-up for the last retiree.
   "I'm pleased with how we went out and played in the last part of the game, and I'm glad we made contact off of the junk pitcher that they threw," said Hicks.
   Williams converted her sixth strikeout on the evening to end the sixth fame for the Rangers.
   Hensley remained solid for David Crockett at the mound throughout, as she struck out two of the last three batters she faced.
   "She's my number two pitcher and threw the ball well, but the defense has gone errorless for the last two games, and I think they're going to keep us close in a lot of games this year," said Moore.