D-B trips up Lady Rangers

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The Unaka Lady Rangers struggled with their defense in double-header action, as they were subdued in both games by Dobyns-Bennett on Monday at Ronnie Hicks Field.
   In the first battle of the evening, it was the Indians prevailing by the final of 6-2.
   "My older players played better than they have been, but we're just having one of those years so far, and everybody's loving it," said Unaka coach Ronnie Hicks.
   Dobyns-Bennett came up in the top of the first inning to jump out to a three-run lead.
   With two outs already made, an error in center field allowed Lauren Carrico to score the Indians' first run.
   "I thought we played better than what we have in two weeks," Hicks said. "That one error in center field gave them a run, but we played more together today and fired up than we have in a long time."
   Two more runs were added, when Melissa McCall knocked a single to drive in Cassey Ramsdale and Kelli Depew.
   The Rangers responded at their time at bat by acquiring two runs themselves.
   Back to back hits from Kellie Allen and Jessica Moffitt set up the Rangers' first score.
   Danielle Carr hit a fielder's choice that enabled Allen to cross the plate.
   Their second run came when a wild pitch from Depew opened the door for Moffitt to come home.
   Unaka's defense held in the second frame, as they only trailed by one run, but the Indians extended their lead during the third.
   Pitcher Danielle Williams walked the first batter, and then hit the next one to put Dobyns-Bennett into scoring position.
   A single to right-field from McCall drove home Ramsdale, and then a throw from the catcher to second base gave Depew the opportunity to come home.
   In the fourth frame, the Indians added another score when Amber Quillen ripped a hit to deep left field that brought home Melinda Gillespie.
   "We put the bat on the ball, and we've done that well all year. We don't strike out much, and we didn't do that again today," said Dobyns-Bennett coach Jerry Higgins.
   The Rangers were unsuccessful in mounting a comeback in the last three innings, as they went three and out each time.
   "After the first inning in the first game, we settled down and played really good defense," said Higgins.
   In the second game of the double-header, it was all Dobyns-Bennett as it thumped the Rangers by the final of 11-0.
   "Right now we're just trying to find an outfielder, and in the second game I just took it as an experimental game," said Unaka coach Ronnie Hicks.
   Unaka trailed after the first frame by a run when a sacrifice fly from Ramsdale drove in Gillespie.
   The Rangers looked as if they might strike back when Moffitt knocked a double to right-center field, but they were unable to capitalize after that.
   Things fell apart for Unaka in the second frame as pitcher Danielle Carr gave up seven hits and seven runs. The outfield seemed to have trouble with pursuit and making plays on the ball, which enabled the Indians to go on the warpath.
   "Right field is just a mystery to us right now. We haven't got anybody stepping up and willing to take it," said Hicks.
   It started off with a double from McCall, and ended with a single from McCall before the Rangers finally escaped the frame.
   Dobyns-Bennett added another score in the third frame, when bases were loaded and a walk to Ramsdale brought in Gillespie.
   The Rangers threatened once again in the bottom of the inning after Shannon Largent ripped a double, but the Rangers were unable to execute as they made two consecutive outs.
   Errors were the story in the final inning for Unaka as it committed four, which allowed Carrico and Quillen to score for the Indians.
   "We hit pretty good, but they made several errors that made it worse than it should have been," said Dobyns-Bennett coach Jerry Higgins.
   With one last effort to get the offense on track in the bottom of the fifth, Unaka started with singles from Danielle Williams and Medora Carrier.
   The Rangers hit the ball after that point, but the next three batters all popped-out.
   "We pitched our sophomore pitcher, and she threw strikes and made the plays -- and that's what I was most interested in," said Higgins.