Fourth-inning explosion keys Lady Warrior win

from staff reports

   It was the close game it was expected to be until the bottom of the fourth inning. That's when Happy Valley opened the flood gates on Johnson County.
   On the strength of a nine-run outburst, the Lady Warriors generated a 10-1 Watauga Conference victory over the visiting Longhorns Monday afternoon.
   "It was a good game up until the fourth," said HV coach Karri Killen. "But their pitcher wasn't feeling well, and we kind of took advantage of that. We started hitting the ball and she had some walks.
   "That was a big difference right there."
   Prior to the big Lady Warrior inning, the score was 1-0 in favor of Happy Valley.
   The Lady Warriors banged out 10 hits on the afternoon, led by Brandi Dugger and Kate Powell at 2-for-2 apiece. Jessie Blevins went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, while Mandy Byrd had a 2-for-3 performance of her own.
   Alicia Dick surrendered just three hits and struck out five batters to even her record at 6-6.
   She received a nice outing from her defense.
   "The big thing I'm proud of is we had zero errors," Killen said. "That's the first clean game we've had all season. That's part of growing up with them, I believe. This is a young team.
   I knew that once we reduced our errors that we could play with anybody. I think we proved that in the Eastman Invitational."
   In a game they had a good chance to win, the Lady Warriors lost by just one run to Bradley Central in the Eastman. Bradley Central went on to take runner-up honors.
   Now 4-3 and 9-13 on the season, Happy Valley visits Unicoi County for a 4:30 p.m. game today. The Lady Warriors visit Unaka for a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday, then entertain Elizabethton at 4:30 on Thursday.