Lady Cyclones stumble against Tennessee High

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Tennessee High softball squad overcame a rocky start, defensively, in the first inning and hit its way to a victory.
   In Monday's non-conference outing, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones took an early lead, but 10 hits and the on-mark pitching of the Lady Vikings' Whitney Mitchell showed the way to a 6-1 decision in favor of the visiting team.
   "We started well and had a few bad breaks," said Elizabethton coach Ken Hardin. "The pitcher from Tennessee High was great, she had a shaky start and came around. She pitched real well after that."
   "We missed a few balls that we should've had and we've regularly had," he said. "We just weren't on our game today and Tennessee High played well. You've got to tip your hat to them."
   The Vikings had two big innings in their third and fifth offensive stanzas.
   Elizabethton got on the board early in the first inning after a Kristie Keys walk. The first of Katie Hubbard's team-leading two hits helped move the bases and set up Keys' score on a passed ball.
   The Cyclones kept the bases loaded after a fielder's choice from Lana Blevins and a walk to Tia Nave, but the Lady Vikings shut the inning down.
   Tennessee High had two hits in their first inning attempt, but didn't muster any runs until the third.
   Mitchell scored on a fielder's choice RBI from Tara Rosenbaum, while Kara Faidley singled and scored off a Mindy Carter shot that was tipped out of Abbie Jenkins' glove.
   The Vikings increased their lead to two in the fourth inning after Whitney Eads singled and Jessica Leonard smacked a big double into left field.
   Tennessee High didn't allow any more than two Lady Cyclones to take base in an inning throughout the rest of the game, and made defensive plays to prevent runs.
   They finished out with a big three-run inning in the fifth after Faidley led off with a double. A collision in the field after Rosenbaum's at-bat scored Faidley, while Rosenbaum scored on a Mindy Carter single.
   Amanda Crumpler took base on a fielder's choice, scoring on another RBI hit from Leonard to finish the scoring duties for Tennessee High.
   In a ridiculous move, the game's umpire ejected Keys in the fifth inning after she took her helmet off just feet from the team's dugout.
   The move was very questionable as he didn't give the player a direct warning.
   "That's a rule and we've got to learn to go by it," said Hardin, who had two other players warned in the game.
   The Lady Cyclones inserted Mary Edgar on the mound and shut down the Lady Vikings during the final two frames.
   Overall, the Tennessee High coach was pleased with the game.
   "We were a little inconsistent the first inning and we gave up a run," said Tennessee High coach Dave Turpin. "We really hit the ball today. When you put the ball in play and with authority, good things are going to happen."
   Leonard led the Lady Vikings with a three of three outing, while Faidley added three hits on four attempts.
   "(Leonard) really started hitting the ball after the Knoxville tournament and the coaches wanted to move her up in the lineup, but we decided to keep her at the nine slot. The way she's hitting the ball really helps us out," said the Lady Viking coach.
   Mitchell threw six out and walked three in her win.
   "We just finished playing in a big tournament and we were a little tired. I don't think she was at her best today," said Turpin. "Her change-up was working good and the defense was making plays. I think she did a good job."
   Several of the Lady Cyclones have been battling through cold symptoms, but should be ready for Thursday's big conference battle against Volunteer.
   "It's a conference game and we need to turn it around and come back strong," said Hardin. "We're going to have a couple good days of practice and see what we can do."