Lady Warriors trip Elizabethton

By Marvin Birchfield

   The Lady Warriors continued to keep pace in their quest for a conference crown, as they blasted an error-prone Elizabethton team with a 10-3 final on Monday afternoon.
   "We've got a lot of talent and capability, and like I say, they'll go as far as they want to go," said Happy Valley coach Karri Killen.
   The Lady Cyclones had trouble in the infield by committing six errors during the contest, so the hard-hitting Happy Valley club took well advantage of the opportunity.
   "We've been up and down all year with hitting the ball, and we had two games last Friday where we struggled, but hopefully we have that out of our system and can get back on track," said Killen.
   In the top of the first, the Cyclone defense struggled by making three errors, which cost them three runs.
   An error in the outfield produced the first two runs, with Katie Powell and Mandy Byrd coming home.
   A hit from Jessie Blevins and an error at first base enabled the third run to score, with Leann Howell crossing the plate.
   "We've had one game where we didn't make any errors and had 12 hits, but we're not consistent," said Elizabethton coach Angie Barker.
   The Cyclones responded with a run coming in from Sarah Smith, after Michelle Collins hit a ground out to the shortstop, and a throw to first enabled the score at home.
   Three runs were added to the Warrior lead in the top of the third, with the first score coming off a double by Blevins that drove in Howell.
   "Our defense has been our strong point all year and our offense has been behind, but now it's starting to line up, so that's a good thing," Howell said.
   A bunt from Jeannie Hawkins and error by the Cyclone defense allowed Blevins to score, and a base hit from Jennifer Osborne brought home Hawkins, making it 6-1 in favor of the Warriors.
   Happy Valley continued its onslaught in the fourth frame, when three runs scored off of two errors and three hits.
   Randi Williams came home off of an error throw to first base, which enabled her to score.
   A double to center field from Howell drove in Byrd, and then another double to the right-field fence by Blevins brought home Howell.
   "I just glad my bats our coming around," said Howell.
   "At the beginning of the season I've rally been behind, and it's been disappointing in my senior year, but the last couple of games I have come out and did my job."
   Elizabethton elected to make a pitching change in the fifth inning by bringing Keys to the mound in replace of Jessica Robinson.
   The Cyclones acquired a run in the top of the fifth, after a double to left field from Christie Keys placed her in scoring position.
   A hard shot from Katie Hubbard to center field brought in Keys to make it a 9-2 contest with the Warriors still in command.
   "We're not expected to win, so we have everything to gain, and as soon as they decide they want to win some ball games, then we might go somewhere," said Barker.
   Happy Valley surrendered several hits in the later innings, but pitcher Alicia Dick kept her composure, along with a solid defense, to surrender just a couple of runs.
   "It was hot today and usually I'll split time between Alicia and Kortney (Goulds), but she did a good job of throwing the ball and I wanted her to finish up," said Killen.
   Powell scored a run in the sixth frame for the Warriors, after leading off with a double down the left-field line, and an erroneous to first base paved the way for her to cross the plate.
   Hubbard connected on her second RBI of the game in the final frame, when she smacked a ground single to bring home Keys.
   "We didn't start hitting the ball until the last few innings, but we didn't back it up with defense, and that's been the story of our team all year," said Barker.