Lady 'Clones overpower Johnson Co.  for 11-0 win

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com

   The Lady Cyclones shut out Johnson County's softball team in five innings for an 11-0 victory Monday afternoon at the Elizabethton softball field.
   Center-fielder Mary Edgar and pitcher Kristie Keys each batted 3-for-3, as Edgar collected three RBIs and a double and Keys knocked in another RBI. Katie Hubbard was 2-of-3 from the plate and brought in three ribbies. Elizabethton batted all the way around twice, scoring 11 runs from 11 hits.
   It was a pitchers' battle until the third inning. Both teams had a pair of hits in the first, with Johnson County's Charley Hodge opening the game with a base hit. Lady Longhorn catcher Cayla Lewis followed up with a single before the Elizabethton field flipped the inning over.
   For Elizabethton in the bottom of the first, Edgar and Keys worked the bases, with a single and stolen base each. However, after a strikeout by Johnson County pitcher Katie Nelson and a grounded out at first base, the inning ended scoreless.
   "We started off all right and then everything fell apart," said Johnson County coach Dana Smith. "That seems to be our norm right now. If we can just not do that, and get through it. They didn't dig a hole; they let a hole happen this time. Usually we dig a hole."
   After Amanda Dowell hit a double for Johnson County but was left on base, Elizabethton opened fire in the bottom of the third. Abbie Jenkins took a base on balls and rounded home plate on Edgar's double.
   An error put Keys on first and Edgar on third, both of whom scored off of Hubbard's grounder to left field. Jessica Robinson made it to first on an error and Tia Nave sent her home with a single before Nelson wrapped the inning up with two strikeouts.
   "I think we hit the ball really well," said Elizabethton coach Kenny Hardin. "We didn't come out hitting it good early, but we came out late and hit the ball pretty hard. I think the difference came when we hit a couple balls deep there and then their outfield backed up and then we hit a few in and just ran the bases well."
   In the fourth, Edgar went to first on an error and scored off of Hubbard's single. With a 5-0 lead going into the fifth, Elizabethton hit hard to end the game early. After Nave got on base from an error and Lana Blevins walked to first, Maggie Austin bunted her way on. Jenkins took advantage of a fielder's choice that got Nave out at home to load the bases.
   A base hit from Edgar sent Blevins and Austin scurrying home, and Keys finished up with a single that put Jenkins across the plate. Hubbard took first on balls to load the bases again and Robinson smacked a double that sent them all three home.
   "I felt really good about the way the team played today," Hardin said. "I think they hit the ball there a little bit at first, but Kristie threw strikes and we made the plays behind her and that's what we're supposed to do as a team."