Lady 'Dogs turn away Highlanders

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Hampton Lady Bulldogs came out Thursday afternoon on a mission.
   After a 4-0 shutout in the first inning, the Lady Dogs scored 10 runs in the second inning to help blast Cloudland.
   However, Cloudland came back to tally eight runs of its own, but it wouldn't be enough as Hampton toppled Cloudland 24-8 in Roan Mountain.
   "The girls played well," said Hampton coach Patrick Kelly. "They played good defense and offense today. We're happy with the way they hustled.
   "Heather Chambers played a really good game, she pitched a complete game. She's a freshman, so it was good. Cindy Hyatt did a a good job behind the plate. She does a good job controlling the team, and she did really good on offense today."
   Hampton opened the game with Joy Gardner and Niki Huggins scoring on walks, before Ria Davis and Elizabeth Alvis singled in Cindy Hyatt and Amanda Finney to give Hampton the 4-0 lead.
   Cloudland was shut down early, as Chambers threw two of her nine strikeouts to keep the Lady 'Landers scoreless going into the second.
   Hampton started in the second inning, behind a two RBI double from Hyatt and an Finney RBI single. Hampton grabbed some runs from walked batters, when Chambers hammered in three RBIs with her triple, as Gardner closed them out with an RBI single, taking the 14-0 lead.
   Chambers didn't allow Cloudland much in return, as defense handled the Lady 'Landers.
   A pitching change from Cloudland, putting Rebecca Clawson on the mound, was somewhat dangerous to Hampton, as Clawson sat down the first three batters she faced.
   Good defense from Hampton stalled Cloudland in the third inning, shortening the chances for a Lady 'Lander rally.
   Hampton scored one run in the fourth inning behind a Gardner RBI single, to take a 15-0 lead. But Cloudland would come back strong.
   The Lady 'Landers came out and got the bases loaded early, and rode around the bases as more players were walked.
   Some bad throws allowed Taukia Hughes, Ashley Timbs, Tonya Simerly, Deidre Stevens, Tiffany Watts, Clawson, and Natasha Benfield the scores as Cloudland cut into the lead, leaving Hampton with the 15-7 advantage.
   But the Hampton ladies wouldn't let Cloudland enjoy their comeback much longer, as the Lady Bulldogs pounded out nine more runs, behind RBI singles from Gardner and Davis, with sacrifice RBIs from Finney and Stacie McCall, and shut the door with a double from Hyatt that brought in three more Hampton runs, giving the Lady Bulldogs the 24-7 lead.
   Cloudland would have one final chance, and would grab a run as Amanda McKinney singled in Tonya Simerly. But it wouldn't be enough as Hampton took the 24-8 win.
   Said Cloudland coach Mary Johnson: "Our girls played a really good game. For a young team of girls who have never played before, they're pulling it out and sticking with it and doing the best that they can. And I'm really proud of them."
   Chambers is credited with the win over Cloudland, as Watts took the loss.