Lady Junior Cyclones control Vance

from staff reports

   BRISTOL -- Another day, another pair of vintage T.A. Dugger performances.
   The unbeaten Lady Junior Cyclones had their way with Vance on Tuesday, taking convincing 6-0 and 11-2 victories in Middle Eight Conference play.
   "It's been the same story all year," said T.A. Dugger head coach Harry Farthing, whose club moved to 8-0 in league activity and 9-0 overall. "We're getting solid pitching and catching, and great defense. We're not killing the ball, but we're hitting the ball solid, moving runners around and scoring enough runs to win."
   Game 1 saw Mary Edgar pitch and hit T.A. Dugger, which scored three runs in the first and three more in the third, to victory.
   Tossing a two-hitter, striking out seven batters and giving up no walks while improving her record to 6-0, Edgar also went 2-for-2 and scored a pair of runs.
   Brittany Smith added a 2-for-3 effort that included a pair of runs and an RBI, and Michaela Pietrowski picked up two RBIs in a 2-for-3 showing of her own. Catcher Kendall Blackston, who enjoyed a strong day working behind the plate, went 1-for-1 with two RBIs.
   Puryea and Nelson had a hit each for the Lady Junior Vikings.
   In the second game Vance jumped out to a 2-0 advantage, but T.A. Dugger quickly wiped that score away by plating six runs in the bottom of the first.
   T.A. Dugger got another two-hitter from the mound, this time from Smith (3-0). She totaled three strikeouts and didn't yield a base on balls.
   Edgar (2-for-2, three runs, one RBI, one stolen base) and Smith (2-for-2 with a two-run triple, three RBIs, two runs) served as the offensive catalysts for the Lady Cyclones, who received 1-for-1 efforts from Leslie Guinn (one RBI) and Tia Nave (one RBI).
   Blackston chimed in at 1-for-2 with a double and a run batted in, while Janey Robinson added a hit and one RBI in two at-bats.
   Shepherd, with a double and a run, topped the Vance attack. Hyde also banged out a hit.
   The defensive gem of the day came from TAD right fielder Leah Henson. With a Vance runner on base and the Lady Vikes looking to start a rally in the fifth, Henson made a beautiful shoestring catch on a sinking line drive, then doubled off the runner at first to complete a double play.
   T.A. Dugger committed zero errors on Tuesday.
   While Farthing was at least fairly optimistic about his team's chances at the start of the season, he didn't quite envision TAD resting on such a lofty perch at this point in the year.
   "We had a lot of experienced eight-graders back," Farthing said. "I knew we'd be pretty good, but we've outplayed my expectations. Our defense has really played better than what I thought, Brittany has really come on at the No. 2 (pitching) spot, and Kendall Blackston is having a great season behind the plate.
   "This might not be the most talented team I've ever had, but they play as well as any team I've had."
   Farthing also commended Sue Branum, a first-year assistant coach, and Gerald Oliver, a volunteer assistant coach.
   "I've had good coaching," Farthing said.
   Forced to catch up on their scheduling, the Lady Cyclones play home games three straight days, starting with Church Hill at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. After taking on Unicoi County in what could be a battle for the Middle Eight regular-season crown on Friday, TAD will do battle with Science Hill this Saturday.
   Tournament action begins on Monday, when the Lady Cyclones will host a first-round contest.