Lady Warriors ride three-hit shutout by Dick

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   MOUNTAIN CITY--Happy Valley pitcher Alicia Dick was right on the money, and the Lady Warriors cashed in on her successful outing.
   Dick enjoyed a 3-hit shutout and the Lady Warrior bats did enough damage early to give Happy Valley a 9-0 shutout over the Johnson County Lady Longhorns Thursday afternoon at Johnson County's softball field.
   Dick had only five strikeouts, but still managed to keep most softballs from getting out of the infield.
   Dick was never really threatened on the afternoon, as only two Lady Longhorn base runners ever made it into scoring position.
   The junior was very happy with the win and her performance.
   "I've been working on speed a lot," Dick said. "My accuracy has always been there. I'm trying to pick up more speed with control. I've been using a lot more pitches. Last year I used a fastball and this year I've got off-speed. I've been working on that, and our catcher (Mandy Byrd) is real good. She knows what to call for me. That's really worked for us."
   Happy Valley head coach Karri Killen felt like Dick threw very well, but also thought she received a lot of help from her defense.
   "She threw the ball well, and our defense played well," Killen said. "It makes a difference when our pitchers have confidence in our defense. It's their job to get it across the plate and do what they're supposed to be doing, and have the defense back them up. It's a whole team effort.
   Dick also credited the Lady Warrior defense for helping her with the strong performance.
   "My defense has always been there," Dick said. "We've had five or six shutouts this year so far."
   Dick had plenty of run support. The Lady Warriors scored nine runs in the first three innings, and cruised from there.
   "We played well," Killen said. "Our bats came a little more alive today. We scored and then we got a little settled. But we got a lot of people in. I think we got just about everybody into play."
   While the Lady Warriors were happy with their performance, Johnson County head coach Dana Smith was a little puzzled about her team's defense.
   "We had eight errors," Smith said. "Defensively, we've not played that bad. We've had our moments, but not that bad, and not the way we went tonight. We're still not hitting well. This young team is still going to have to keep fighting and fighting. It's just frustrating for them and frustrating for me to go through this."
   One Lady Longhorn player that did well after a slow start was pitcher Laura Peters. Peters allowed just one hit after the first three innings.
   Katie Powell had three hits to top the Lady Warriors.
   Johnson County will play in a tournament in Cleveland today, while the Lady Warriors will compete in the NFS Invitational in Erwin.