Lady Jr. 'Dogs dismiss Unaka

By Marvin Birchfield

   The Hampton Lady Jr. Bulldogs were on a tear Friday, mauling any intruder who dared to lay foot on their home field.
   This was the case when they squared off against Unaka Lady Rangers, staying the queens of the dog pound by a final of 8-3.
   "This is a great group of girls that work hard, and they really wanted this win today," said Hampton coach Sallie Whitehead, whose Bulldogs were seeing action without star player Lauren Pittman. "Biggest thing is we lost our all-star, and came out and rebounded from it to get the win."
   Hampton got a steady performance from pitcher Laci Oliver, as she allowed just four hits with four walks. "Laci did a good job," said Whitehead. "She is a first year pitcher and has come a long way."
   The Bulldogs first grabbed the lead when a fielder's choice brought home Oliver in the second frame. Four more runs came for Hampton in the third frame, after a single from Melissa Norris scored Susie Loveday to get things brewing.
   "As a team they worked together and backed each other up," Whitehead commented. "Plus they paid attention to the ball and did the things we had worked on all week.".
   Five walks were committed by Unaka, which scored two of Hampton's runs, and forced the Rangers to make a pitching change with Amy Colbaugh headed to the mound.
   After trailing 5-0 in the top of the fourth, the Rangers were able to put points on the board, with one of those coming from Colbaugh, who had ripped a hit to center-field.
   "We just had trouble hitting the ball today, and Laci did a good job for Hampton pitching," said Unaka coach Tammy Taylor. The Rangers had some trouble on defense in the bottom of the fourth, as a bad throw from the catcher back to the pitcher allowed Paige Blevins and Melissa Norris to score.
   With the Bulldogs leading 8-2 heading into the last inning of play, the Rangers had one last desperation attempt to comeback, but only managed to earn one run. "We are not patient hitting the ball, and Hampton was patient and got on base more," said Taylor. "We made some mental errors, and it cost us the game, but we're mainly just sixth graders."