Lady Warriors tumble Sullivan Central

By Wes Holtsclaw

   With an array of conference games in the next week and a half, the Happy Valley Lady Warriors wanted to kick off a strong finish to the season Tuesday afternoon.
   They began on the right track.
   Solid defense shut down Sullivan Central, while a big inning of offense overcame the Lady Cougars in a 6-1 decision.
   "We've got big (conference) games all this week and that's what I told them," said Happy Valley coach Karri Killen. "Every game is important -- let's take it one game at a time."
   Kortney Goulds keyed the defensive effort from the mound with four hitless innings and finished with seven strikeouts and one walk.
   Bethany Haney took the loss for Central.
   "We had the no-hitter going and Kortney got a little disappointed when she walked that batter, but she's a battler," said the Lady Warior coach.
   "Our defense played well," she said. "We made some plays where we covered where we were supposed to, and made them when we needed to."
   Her team came together offensively with five runs in the fourth inning, while Sullivan Central got its lone run in the fifth.
   Lady Warrior senior Mandy Byrd got the team's first hit in their opening stanza of offense. An errant throw after a Kate Powell grounder set the runners in scoring position.
   Alicia Dick followed strongly with a sacrificed fly to give the unit a 1-0 lead.
   Jessica Blevins and Christy Shell added hits for the team in the second inning, but two good plays in the Lady Cougar infield halted any Happy Valley run until the fourth.
   Goulds opened that frame with a single before Blevins' bat produced an RBI double. A Jennifer Osborne single was followed by a grounder from Christy Shell.
   Shell's tap set off another misfire from the Cougars, scoring Blevins and Osborne. She would later score when Powell came through with a single and error.
   Powell wound out the team's scoring run when Terra Whaley doubled.
   At the beginning of the fifth inning, Mallory Collins got the first hit off Gould for Central. Jennifer Rankins followed with a single of her own.
   Shelley Ray put one in the field for Collins, but Byrd was there with a shot to Dick at the plate for the out. Central wasn't out though, as a sacrificed grounder from Trish Conn scored Rankins for the Lady Cougars.
   Happy Valley's Whitney Crowe and Central's Caitie Munal and Courtney Brickey each had a hit in the sixth inning for their team, but defense prevented another run.
   A solid 1-3-5-6-1 double play from the Lady Warriors in the sixth set the pace for solid fielding to take the win.
   Happy Valley's Blevins was the only player to finish with multiple hits.
   The Lady Warriors will continue their tough conference schedule today against Elizabethton.
   "They came back on us in one of our first games and it was a 7-6 game," said Killen of the Lady Cyclones. "Any team that's in this conference can play on that same level, so we've got to come out and play our game."