'Betsy gets best of Lady Bulldogs
By Michelle Pope

   The Lady Cyclones collected two Watauga Conference wins Thursday afternoon on their home field, as they finished a game that was rained out at Hampton on March 30 and then played the scheduled game at the Lady Cyclone field.
   Starting midway through the fourth inning in a 6-1 lead, Elizabethton finished with a 19-6 win. In the second game, after overcoming a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning, Elizabethton pulled out with a 12-3 victory.
   "We hit as good as we could possibly hit in the first game," Elizabethton coach Kenny Hardin said. "We really hit the ball well."
   Before the first game was rained out, the Lady Cyclones scored four runs in the top of the first from three hits. Mary Edgar and Kristie Keys, both 3-for-4 from the plate, got on with base hits, and a Hampton error sent Edgar home. Katie Hubbard knocked Keys home with a single, and Hampton pitcher Heather Chambers walked two batters with runners on second and third to give Elizabethton two more runs.
   Chambers got Hampton's first hit in the bottom of the first, but was left on base when Elizabethton pitcher Edgar struck out the next three batters.
   Keys slugged her way to first again in the second inning and was knocked in by Hubbard's single. In the bottom of the third, Chambers got on base for Hampton on a fielder's choice, and scored on an error. Elizabethton's sixth run came in the fourth, when Caitlin Kerley scored Abbie Jenkins, who made it to first on an error and stole to put herself in scoring position.
   Elizabethton bumped its score up to the double digits in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to make the score 10-1. After Edgar got on base on a fielder's choice, Keys sent her home with a double to left field. Following Keys' lead, Mikeal Oliver smacked a double to left field that sent Keys home.
   In a play that was becoming all too familiar, Hubbard hit a double along the left field foul line to score Oliver. After Jenkins walked, a pass ball gave Hubbard the chance to scramble across the plate for the Lady Cyclones' tenth run.
   In the sixth, Elizabethton took a giant leap, scoring eight runs from five hits. Edgar and Oliver both hit doubles good for two runs each, and Kerley and Whitney Lyons hit singles for two more RBIs. Oliver and Kerley both scored on errors.
   Hampton fought back in the final two innings, scoring five runs and holding Elizabethton to one. In the sixth, Lady 'Dog catcher Lauren Pitman walked to first and stole second. Kristine Newburn took first on balls, putting Pitman on third.
   A single from Melissa Norris sent Pitman home to give Hampton two runs. On the next play, Norris went out on a fielder's choice that put Lacey Oliver on base and allowed Newburn to score. Oliver scored on a Lady Cyclone error to give Hampton four runs.
   In the top of the seventh, Edgar hit a double and scored on a fielder's choice. All three batters after Edgar each went out with a toss from third-baseman Norris to Newburn at first.
   During Hampton's turn at bat in the seventh, Melissa Oaks walked to first and stole second. A single from Pitman sent her home and Pitman advanced to second on the throw. A Newburn base hit scored Pitman to give Hampton six against Elizabethton's 19.
   "I think just getting them settled down and starting to hit the ball again was a good thing to go ahead and work our way through that so we could get a clean start there in the second game," said Hampton coach Pat Kelly. "I think that gave us a good start. They realized that they could hit the ball. Once they did that, they started to get some runs."
   Elizabethton had 18 hits during the game. Edgar finished the first game with two doubles and 2 RBIs. Oliver batted 2-of-3 with two doubles and collected three RBIs. Keys had a double and ribbie, and Hubbard batted 3-for-6 with a double and 3 RBIs. Kerley batted 3-for-4 and had two RBIs.
   For Hampton, Newburn was 2-of-3 from the plate with an RBI. Pitman and Norris had a hit each and knocked in the other two earned runs.
   In the second game, Elizabethton scored first, as Edgar walked and went home on Hubbard's double. Tia Nave and Britney Smith walked, but Hampton pitcher Norris ended the inning with a strikeout. Lady Bulldog left-fielder Amanda Peters opened the third inning with a double and advanced to third on an error. Another error after two outs allowed her to score to tie the game at 1-1.
   The Lady Cyclones retaliated in the bottom of the third, with doubles from Keys and Edgar. Keys was tagged out at home plate on a fielder's choice that put Hubbard on second base. A controversial call left Edgar safe at third, who scored as Nave went out at first on a fielder's choice. An error in the Hampton outfield gave Smith the chance to make it to second base and allowed Hubbard to score.
   Pitman took first base on an error in the top of the fourth, stole second and scored on a pass ball to make the score 3-2 for Hampton. Chambers belted out a triple in the top of the fifth and scored on Susan Loveday's single to tie the game again at 3-3.
   However, in the bottom of the fifth, Elizabethton snatched the lead back. Edgar, who batted 3-for-3, hit a single and Hubbard got on first with an error that hit Hampton left-fielder Peters in the jaw. Coach Kelly said Peters seemed to be okay after the game and was being checked at the hospital. After the game continued, a single from Cassidy Blevins scored Edgar and Hubbard for the Lady Cyclones.
   "We tried to be patient and wait on the ball before we hit, and then we were in the lead again," Hardin said of the close game in the fifth. "If you panic in a close ball game, you'll lose every time. We just tried not to panic and tried to play hard. Hampton played hard and put everything they had into it. The coach should be proud of his players."
   Elizabethton played another damaging sixth inning, scoring seven runs to win the game 12-3. Nave hit a double and got an RBI, as Edgar, Keys, Maggie Austin and Kerley each hit singles that knocked in runs. Keys stole home and Austin scored on a fielder's choice.
   "We just hit the ball hard there a couple times and ran the bases well," Coach Hardin said. "After we scored a couple runs and got up, things just started rolling for us. I hate that the left-fielder got hurt like that. Our thoughts are with her, and I hope she's okay."
   Elizabethton's Edgar was 3-of-3 from the plate with a double and one RBI. Hubbard was 2-of-2 with a double and ribbie and Keys batted 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Nave hit a double good for a run and Blevins was 1-for-1 with two RBIs.
   For Hampton, Chambers hit a triple and Peters had a double.