Lady Junior Cyclones rebuff Vance Middle

Kim Richardson
Star Correspondent

   It was Summer time Monday in Blackbottom. Summer Smith was a coach's dream in helping the T. A. Dugger Junior Cyclones to a sweep over the Vikings of Vance Middle School.
   Junior Cyclones head coach Crystal VanHuss was "very pleased" with her pitcher's performance.
   "She's just an outstanding good player all around," VanHuss said. "You saw how she can hit with that line triple. She obviously pitches well, she can really run the bases and that was her playing infield in game two."
   Smith said: "I was able to locate the ball pretty well early, and our defense was making the plays behind me."
   But Smith was her own primary defense. The petite right hander hurled 10 strikeouts and accounted for 11 of the 15 outs in the game, including one pop fly back to smith.
   But Summer Smith wasn't exactly perfect. After all, she did walk one batter; the other two Vance baserunners reached via throwing errors; thus a shutout no-hitter with one walk.
   "She really was hitting the corners," stated Junior Cyclone catcher Brittney Eggers. "They just couldn't catch up to her, or they swung too early. She's strong armed and shut them down."
   And she didn't do so badly in the batter's box, nailing the game's most solid hit, a triple to the left-field fence as TAD defeated the visiting Vikings 5-0.
   The Junior Cyclones scored a run in the bottom of the first, another in the second, then assaulted the Vikings for three runs in the fourth to seal the deal. Kyla Jones scored the game's first run after walking, was sacrificed bunted to second by Taylor Bellessa before advancing to third on a throwing error.
   TAD added another run in the second inning when Chelsey Fagan walked with one out, advanced on another throwing error and beat the throw home to but the Junior Cyclones up 2-0.
   Then came the fourth inning offensive explosion by the host team. Madisson McKinney walked with two outs, and Fagan stepped up and belted a double, scoring McKinney.
   Janey Robinson singled home Fagan before Smith concluded the game's scoring with her line shot, RBI triple, scoring Robinson.
   Vance starting pitcher Chelsie Snipes pitched well.
   "I did all right," said Snipes. "They're a good team, and maybe we were trying too hard in the batter's box. But we have to move on and look ahead to the next game."
   Vance teammate Sam Belcher agreed that the Vance batters and fielders were "a little off."
   "We didn't play very well," Belcher said. "We know we can hit much better than we did today. We also made way too many errors in the field. But we have a few more games; we'll continue to improve."
   Game Two
   Bellessa continued where Smith left off in the second game of the double header. Bellessa allowed only two hits as TAD defeated the Vikings 5-2.
   This time Vance actually managed to get two runners around the base paths to score -- one run in the top of the third, answered by the Junior Cyclones in the fourth, and the game's final run in the top of the fifth after the Junior Cyclones had the game safely in hand.
   TAD got two runs in the first inning and two in the second to put the Vikings in catch-up mode early on.
   "We were able to get out front early," said VanHuss. "We're now 13-0 and headed to Unicoi County (today). We're playing pretty well, and we'll have to continue to do so in order be as good as we feel that we can be come tournament time."
   The Junior Cyclones tallied the double header's final home team run in the bottom of the fourth and held on to give the doubleheader sweep to the home team.
   Jasmmine Treadway played catcher for TAD in game two, and had one hit in two at bats. Fagan went two for two with two RBIs.
   Bellessa helped her own cause as she went one for three and scored one run. Jones had one hit and also scored a run.
   "They threw the ball really well," said Vance head coach Sammi Chafin. "We didn't help ourselves at all; we were either swinging late or we were guessing and were way out front with our swings. But a lot of the credit should go to them. They have a very sound team, with good infielders and obviously good pitching."
   "Our pitcers and catchers are, and have been playing very well. We'll just have to cut down on the mental mistakes and throwing errors, move on and improve."
   The meeting today between the Junior Cyclones and Unicoi County looms big for both teams.
   "Unicoi County has a good, sharp team," said VanHuss. "We'll give it our all and see how we stack up. One thing's for certain, Unicoi will be ready to play when we get there. We'll see if we are."