Lady Warriors blank 'Betsy

By Marvin Birchfield

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   It was the classic battle of two conference rivals on Wednesday, with the Happy Valley Lady Warriors blanking the Elizabethton Cyclones by the final of 3-0.
   "The defense has been the big difference in our past three wins, and when our defense plays our batting will come around, and it has," said Happy Valley coach Kari Killen.
   In the top of the first, the Warriors looked like they were going to get on the board early, as Jennifer Osborne and Mandy Byrd led off by getting back to back hits.
   Then the Cyclones rose to the occasion by turning a double-play, which denied Happy Valley's effort to score.
   Elizabethton struggled at the plate, as they were unproductive with not being able to take advantage of an error committed by the Warriors.
   In the second frame, Happy Valley built momentum with an error in left-field, which gave the window of opportunity to make something happen.
   And that's exactly what they did, when Kate Powell ripped a shot over the left-fielder's head to bring home Jessi Blevins.
   "We have gotten better as we've went on, and they have really stepped up, for I've got more confidence in these young girls, than if I had a group of seniors," said Killen.
   The Warriors executed again on a fielder's choice from Jennie Hawkins, that scored Powell.
   Happy Valley struck once more in the third frame, after an error in the in-field allowed Byrd to cross the plate.
   "The mistakes we made today are unusual, for the people that made them today are basically seniors, except for one freshman," said Elizabethton coach Gerald Jenkins.
   The Warrior defense was relentless throughout, as pitcher Alicia Dick retired batter after batter.
   "My teammates really helped me out, for they saved me in a couple of outs to end the inning, and I really had confidence in them today," said Dick.
   Dick pitched a superb game by not allowing any hits through the five innings, that she pitched.
   "We went several of innings, where we was three up and three down, and I felt like the defense was really behind me today.
   Kortney Goulds came into replace Dick in the sixth inning, as the Warriors defense had been virtually perfect through the first five frames with only one error.
   The Cyclones appeared to be making a late game rally in the sixth, when the Warriors committed their second error of the game.
   Elizabethton finally acquired their first hit of the evening, when Sarah Smith knocked a shot to shallow center-field.
   Brandy Fairman next up ripped another hit, which was a grounder to left-field.
   With two outs and runners on first and second, Hawkins came up with a nice catch in center-field to deny the Cyclones from closing the gap.
   In the final frame, Happy Valley continued to play like they had all game, by shutting down the Cyclones three and out.
   "We need to refocus, for we wasn't ready to play today." "Normally you don't win ballgames, but you lose them, and we lost one today," said Jenkins.