Lady Warriors too much for  Elizabethton

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff
tbrown@starhq.com

   Elizabethton and Happy Valley have always shared a silent rivalry in everything from baseball to board games, and the softball season brings more of the same. The Happy Valley Lady Warriors took the first game of the season series by beating the Lady Cyclones 12-0 on Tuesday afternoon on the HV field.
   Despite the lopsided outcome, the contest was close in the early stages as both teams battled with pitching and defense.
   Happy Valley coach Karri Killen talked about the slow start, after the game.
   "Our girls came out ready to play, but it took our hitting a couple of innings to come around," Killen said. "We did the things we needed to do to win."
   The first inning was quiet for the Cyclones as pitcher Alicia Dick sat Elizabethton down in order despite some solid contact. The home half of the first saw the Warriors threaten, as a line drive struck pitcher Sarah Ruston in the right knee. She responded well, recovering in time to retire the side.
   The second inning would bring more of the same, as the Cyclones went quietly while the Lady Warriors stranded another pair of potential runs.
   The third inning broke the deadlock and spelled trouble for the struggling Cyclones. A bunt single from Mandy Byrd and a sacrifice bunt from Dick put a runner in scoring position with one out.
   Back-to-back singles by Tara Whaley and Kortney Goulds would bring home Byrd to take the 1-0 lead. Throwing miscues and another base hit by Jessie Blevins gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead heading to the fourth inning.
   HV brought more offensive pressure in the fourth frame, as four hits and four defensive mistakes converted into six runs for the Tribe.
   In desperate need of offense, the Cyclones got two aboard with no outs in the top half of the fifth inning. A strikeout and a 1-3-2 double play would silence the threat and spell the beginning of the end for the Lady Cyclones.
   A two-run home run by Whaley and another run scored by Leann Howell would round out the scoring for Happy Valley. Aside from six strikeouts, the Cyclones put the ball in play but simply could not score the key hits in the clutch.
   Two more runners would be stranded in the top of the seventh as the Lady Cyclones fell in the conference tilt.
   Cyclone skipper Angie Barker and assistant Melissa McClain insist that improvement is in the future. It will just take time.
   "We have to cut down on our errors," Barker said. "We didn't back up our defense with solid offense today," McClain added.
   McClain went on to say that consistency is the key for building a winning team.
   "We have done different things well, but we have to put it together," McClain said. "We have to have solid hitting and great defense on the same field."