Lady Rangers swamp North

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   It took two innings for the Unaka Lady Rangers to adapt to Sullivan North pitcher Cheyenne Redmond. Then the hits fell like rain.
   With 11 overall hits and solid pitching from senior ace Danielle Williams, the maroon and white rallied after a six-run fourth inning to take a 10-0 victory Monday afternoon.
   "We faced a pitcher from Central who was like that, but she threw strikes," said Unaka head coach Ronnie Hicks. "When she sped it up, we got the double. We've worked on hitting speed. They worked hard this off-season, but we want to try to get it back."
   Williams allowed only two hits without a walk, not to mention seven strikeouts in her first victory of the season.
   "Dani pitched a good game and I think that signing early with Roane State took a lot of pressure off of her," the coach said. "She worked hard in the offseason."
   The Lady Rangers got three RBI singles from Kristi Moffitt and two doubles from Jessica Moffitt to lead the battery.
   Hicks got a lot of players some expirience in the squad's home outing, including four players who have yet to practice this season.
   "We have five juniors and five sophomores that all play, and two seniors," he said. "We also have five freshmen that are not bad. We had one scrimmage and three legit practices so far, and we're happy to have everyone out here."
   Williams gave up singles in the first and third innings to North, but capitalized with strikeouts.
   The Lady Rangers took ahold of bases in the first and second inning courtesy of walks and a pair of fielder's choices. However, they couldn't take control with the bases loaded in the second frame.
   Things changed in the third inning with a Brittany Taylor single and a double from Jessica Moffitt. Williams and Kristi Moffitt followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Lady Rangers a 2-0 lead.
   An offensive explosion came from the Unaka bats in the fourth inning, which saw the six runs.
   Medora Carrier walked for Jessica Moffitt, who drove across the run with her second double. Williams followed with a walk for Kristi Moffitt's second RBI single.
   After walking earlier in the game, Amy Colbaugh stepped up with one of the game's biggest shots, with a left-field single driving in two runs.
   It set up another two-run single, after a Julie Roberson walk, when Amber Woods saw a shot drop in the outfield. A Carrier single and Taylor walk left the Lady Rangers with the bases loaded going into the fifth inning.
   A quick three outs gave Unaka the chance to win the game.
   Megan Heaton led off with a double before scoring on Moffitt's third RBI single. Moffitt was caught on her way home, however Amy Colbaugh made her way around the bases on a fielder's choice.
   A walk to Kelly Allen gave Colbaugh room to dash home. But Colbaugh backed up and got an errored throw to take the winning run.
   The Lady Rangers, who are an early state tourney favorite, face a tough test in the next week with three home games against Happy Valley, Virginia High and Johnson County and a pair of road trips on the way.
   Hicks is happy with the team's start, and is excited with the improvement despite the lack of practice.
   "We're starting a lot better than last year," he said. "Last year, we only had two girls with a lot of high school expirience. This year, even with the lack of practice, you can see a big improvement."