Lady 'Clones bull Sullivan South, 9-0

By Michelle Pope

   Strong pitching from Lady Cyclone Jessica Robinson kept Sullivan South from sending more than four batters to bat in any given inning, and Katie Hubbard had two RBIs to lead Elizabethton to the 9-0 victory.
   The Lady Cyclones shut out the Lady Rebels in their first game of the season on Monday at the Cyclone softball field.
   "I was just impressed with the pitching performance," said Elizabethton softball coach Kenny Hardin. "We hit the ball and ran the bases really well. I was really proud of the girls."
   Elizabethton took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, with hits from Mary Edgar, Maggie Austin, Kristie Keys, Hubbard, Tia Nave, and Britney Smith. Abbie Jenkins advanced all the way around on errors after a stroll to first, Keys had an RBI and stole home on a wild pitch, and Hubbard scored a ribbie.
   Two fly outs and a Robinson strikeout ended the top of the second quickly for South. Lady Rebel pitcher Ashley Ferguson walked Edgar, who stole second and third bases. Keys took a base on balls, and Edgar was caught out at home for the third Cyclone out.
   Elizabethton took advantage of the third inning to put more points on the board. Robinson advanced to third base on an error, and then went home on a wild pitch, while Edgar and Whitney Lyons knocked in two RBIs to make it 7-0.
   In the fourth frame, Austin knocked a single, but was tagged out at second base. Whitney Cogburn took over on the mound for the Lady Rebels, and then Keys took first on a walk for Elizabethton as Hubbard stepped up to the plate. The catcher hit a single, sending Keys across the plate for the Elizabethton's eighth run.
   Robinson made a base hit and then advanced to second base, where Coach Hardin subbed Danielle Hurt in as a runner. A wild pitch to Jenkins sent Hurt scampering across the plate for the final point of the game.
   "We played in the scrimmage tournament this past weekend and we looked okay there," Hardin said. "Then we came here and played really hard today."
   In the top of the fifth, Jessica Bradshaw had a base hit for the Lady Rebels, but a strikeout gave South its third out, leaving her stranded on base. Cogburn threw two strikeouts in a row in the bottom of the fifth and Bradshaw caught a fly ball to move the game into the sixth inning.
   Alicia Light, Casey Columbo, and Bradshaw all had singles in the final two innings for Sullivan South, but both teams' defense held strong as neither squad sent a runner around the block.
   Robinson took the win for Elizabethton, and Ferguson shouldered the loss for the Lady Rebels.
   "South always has a tough program," Hardin said of his opponents. "Their girls have a reputation of being one of the top programs in the area in all girls' sports. We expected a tough game -- we just played really well today."