Lady Rangers best Jr. Bucs

By Wes Holtsclaw

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

   Defense and pitching are two vital parts of winning a softball game, and the Unaka Lady Rangers showed it Thursday afternoon at Ronnie Hicks Field.
   Behind the sharp arm of Danielle Williams, the Lady Ranger defense piledrove University High (6-4) with a 6-0 decision.
   "We're real young," said Unaka coach Ronnie Hicks. "This is what I've been looking for. They came around and had a real good game against a good team. University High has a good ballteam.
   "We were fortunate to get out of two innings with the bases loaded, and held them to no scores. I thought my pitcher (Williams) did a good job today. She's thrown well all year, but this is the best."
   Tough defense went Unaka's way the whole afternoon, and it got rolling early with a quick strikeout from Williams and two straight defensive putouts.
   On the offensive side, the Lady Rangers quickly fumed University High. Kellie Allen scored first for Unaka, followed by a Jessica Moffitt score on a wild pitch. Alesha Buckles also scored from an error, giving Unaka the 3-0 lead after the first inning.
   Defense for both teams rolled through the next two innings, as no hits were allowed, and the game turned into a pitching dual.
   Both pitchers represented their teams well on the day -- Unaka's Williams with 10 strikeouts while McVangle sat down 11 for University High.
   Unaka handled University High in the latter innings, as the Lady Rangers battled through two loaded sets of bases from the Lady Bucs.
   Unaka scored two runs in the fifth inning, as Jessica Moffitt and Danielle Carr were hammered in from a huge double from Julie Roberson.
   Moffitt contributed an RBI single in the sixth, as she drove in Allen for Unaka to give the Lady Rangers the 6-0 win.
   The win gives Unaka a 3-8 record, but Coach Hicks believes the Lady Rangers are read to step it up.
   Said Hicks: "We're taking it one step at a time, this was step two. I'm hoping that we are on the right road, so we can get this thing straghtened out. I know we can play better ball than we've been playing."
   Said Lady Buc coach Josh Petty: "I told them after the game that it was the simple fact that we had runners in scoring position, and just couldn't deliver the hits."
   "Not taking anything away from their pitcher, she threw a good game. It's easy to say we didn't hit well, but that's just taking away from a good pitching job from Unaka."
   Despite the loss, Petty is still optimistic about his team's chances at a conference crown.
   "I knew that coming up here would be tough," added Petty. "Now all we have to do is go out Monday and win two against Cloudland, and play Unaka again on May 3rd to see who will get number one seed in the tournament."
   Meredith Reardon led the Lady Bucs on the day with a 3-of-four performance. Stacey Keller added two hits for University High.
   Jessica Moffitt led Unaka with two hits and an RBI, while Roberson added her double and two RBIs.
   Williams' record improves to 2-4 on the season, while McVangle drops to 5-3.