Unaka girls stick with tradition

By Wes Holtsclaw

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The Unaka Lady Rangers have done it again.
   Behind the strong pitching effort of Danielle Carr and a supporting offensive unit, Unaka defeated the University High Lady Bucs 7-5 at Ronnie Hicks Field on Thursday afternoon to capture yet another District 1-A Softball Championship.
   Despite the early afternoon rains which delayed the contest for an hour and a half, both teams played out a hard-fought contest. Unaka opened up swinging, and sent the shockwaves through University High.
   Alesha Buckles opened up with a towering double, which was followed by a Danielle Carr RBI on a botched play where the first base player was missing.
   Carr trotted two extra bases on the play, and scored from a Jessica Moffitt double.
   The Lady Bucs made an effort in the first, but Unaka's defense would be too much as the Lady Rangers held onto a 2-0 lead. Unaka came back up in the second and scored behind a Carr RBI single, scoring Kristen Morley.
   University High never quit, as Jessica McNutt scored from an error, closing the score at 3-1. That would be the closest it got, as Unaka provided three runs in a dynamic third inning.
   The Lady Rangers opened with singles from Julie Roberson and Moffitt, loading the bases with a Dani Williams fielder's choice and error which scored Moffitt.
   Emily Elliott smacked in an RBI single for Williams, and Amanda Wilson scored from a Morley RBI play.
   Unaka scored later in the game from a Williams RBI rip.
   University High built a strong comeback against Unaka, with some big plays from Renee Hoover and Megan Backers closing the gap against the Lady Rangers, pulling within a 7-5 margin.
   The game had a somewhat controversial ending at the bottom of the seventh, with two bases filled for University High, when a call was made over an apparent McNutt foul that was touched by a Unaka player.
   However, Unaka got a sitdown and a groundout to end the game at 7-5.
   Wilson had two hits and a run for Unaka, while Megan Backers had two hits and three RBIs for University High in the game.
   In regional action, Unaka will host the loser of the Jellico-Washburn District 2-A finale, while University High travels to the winning spot on Monday afternoon.