Science Hill too strong for Lady 'Clones

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones held their own, but three big offensive innings from the opposition worked against their favor.
   Elizabethton had a hard time adjusting offensively early in its battle with the Science Hill Lady Hilltoppers, and the opposition took advantage of some defensive mistakes en route to a 7-1 victory at the Metro Kiwanis Park.
   The Lady Cyclones were victorious later with a 6-2 junior varsity victory.
   Science Hill used some big hits to take an opening lead in the varsity contest, forcing the Lady Cyclones to play from behind throughout the game.
   Despite the loss, Elizabethton built more experience for big conference games with the outing against the triple-A club.
   "They hit the ball exceptionally well today and we made a few errors here and there," said Lady Cyclone coach Kenny Hardin. "We definitely didn't play our best, but we're not taking anything away from them because they hit the ball consistently. They played a good game."
   A Kristen Klem triple at the bottom of the first inning got things rolling for Science Hill. Betina Fisher followed with an RBI double, later scoring on an error.
   Alyssa Shoun and Whitney Hawkins also singled for the Lady 'Toppers, with Shoun scoring on a Hannah Parker walk to exit the opening frame with a 3-0 lead.
   The Lady Cyclones played solid defense in the second inning, but Science Hill took advantage of little things to get back on the scoreboard in the third.
   Ashleigh Jackson walked, while Hawkins got her second single of the game in the third offensive stanza for the Lady 'Toppers. Jackson stole home after a failed rundown, while an error in the infield allowed a Hawkins run.
   Elizabethton got rolling offensively in the third with singles from Lana Blevins and Maggie Austin, but the Lady 'Toppers got ahead with plays in the field to prevent a Lady Cyclone score.
   However, the orange unit made up for it in the fourth inning after Katie Hubbard opened with a left field double.
   Abby Jenkins stepped up two slots later with a grounded shot into left field, bringing Hubbard's courtesy runner across the plate for Elizabethton's lone run of the game.
   The Lady Cyclones played solid defense in the fourth and fifth innings with a big 9-5-4 double play to get out of the fifth frame.
   But they had a hard time offensively, hitting into infield plays by Science Hill.
   The Lady 'Toppers got on the board again in the sixth inning, with Meredith and Klem scoring on an RBI single and sacrifice, respectively, by Fisher and Jackson.
   Hawkins took the win on the mound for the Lady 'Toppers with five strikeouts in the complete game. Jessica Robinson only walked two, and had two strikeouts in five innings of work to take the loss for Elizabethton.
   Kristi Keys wound out the game for Robinson in the sixth inning.
   Said Hardin: "We made some pretty good plays, but we missed some easy plays. We're young and we'll learn from it. When you play good teams like this, it only makes you better."
   Klem, Fisher and Hawkins finished with two hits apiece for Science Hill, while four different Lady Cyclones grabbed hits.
   Elizabethton hosts Sullivan Central this afternoon at 4:30 p.m..
   Junior Varsity Game
   Elizabethton 6
   Science Hill 2
   A pair of two-run doubles from Mary Edgar and Tia Nave keyed the Lady Cyclones' junior varsity victory over the Lady Toppers.
   Caitlin Kerley also contributed an RBI single to the Elizabethton cause.
   Science Hill was kept together by the solid pitching of Alyssa Shoun, who had eight strikeouts, but gave up seven runs on three hits.
   Elizabethton's Brittany Smith earned the win with three strikeouts and only giving up two runs in the second inning.
   Each team had three errors.