Lady Rangers rip Pirates

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The rough and tough Lady Rangers were rowdy on Tuesday as the bullied and pushed Washburn out of the way in a 16-1 final at Ronnie Hicks Field in the semifinals of the Region 1-A tournament.
   Every Ranger that came to the plate took a swing and connected with a hit, causing the Pirate defense to be brutalized and battered by game's end.
   "I'm really pleased with how we hit the ball today -- that's probably the best I've seen us hit the ball to the field," said Unaka coach Ronnie Hicks.
   In the top of the first, Unaka didn't seem to be quite settled.
   Pitcher Danielle Carr walked the first batter, Amber Young, and an error by the first baseman allowed Amanda Nicely to reach base.
   Courtney Collins captured a hit that sailed over the shortstop's glove, which scored Young, giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead with just one out.
   "After they got the first run I became kindly scared, but it's my job to settle down and try just a little bit harder," said Carr.
   That was the only hit Carr gave up, as she showed her rage by going on a rampage and striking out the next two batters.
   The relentless assault continued through the next two innings, as Carr struck out six of the last eight batters.
   "Every out that wasn't a strike-out, I had my team behind me throwing them out," said Carr.
   Carr retired a total of seven of the 13 batters she faced with strikeouts.
   In the bottom of the first frame, Unaka showed why they are considered to be the best in the area in 1-A softball.
   "I've kindly taken the pressure off this week," Hicks said. "I just about kept that from happening with the way I coached last Thursday night, so I'm real tickled of where we are now."
   The Pirates were stunned with numerous hits, as five of them accumulated during the first.
   The first smack came when Alesha Buckles knocked a grounder to left field.
   Carr followed up with a triple to right, where she nearly made an infield home-run, just shy of getting past the catcher with a tag.
   "I almost had a home-run on that hit, and maybe if I would have just kicked it into fifth gear, then I probably could have beat her," said Carr.
   This gave the Rangers the lead as both Medora Carrier and Buckles came home off the hit by Carr.
   Another triple was produced when Jessica Moffitt came to the plate.
   A hard shot to right-center field managed to get her all the way around to third-base.
   Moffitt continued from there to come in with a steal, after an attempted throw was made at third.
   A single to right from Emily Elliott scored Kristen Morley and Danielle Williams.
   An overthrow by the catcher to third base allowed Mandy Roberson to sneak home, and a hit from Amanda Wilson drove in Carrier, making it 7-1 after the first.
   "We're such a young team and we can't afford to make mistakes when we play against the big teams," said Washburn coach Chris Vineyard.
   The Rangers added seven more runs in the second frame, with two of them coming off a triple from Julie Roberson that scored Carr and Moffitt.
   Four hits were added in the second, as the game was nearing its end with the mighty Rangers showing no signs of slowing down.
   In the third and final frame, Unaka continued its dominance with excellent pitching on the mound and execution at the plate.
   The game was finally called after the smackdown from Buckles, whose ground single knocked in Carrier for the win.
   "I wish Unaka the best of luck," Vineyard said. "They have always been good to me when I've come here, and I hope Ronnie can get his club together."