TAD girls finish on top

By Wes Holtsclaw

STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   BRISTOL -- "I told people before the season that it was a good team that was capable of winning a championship if they put all the pieces together."
   Those were the words of T.A. Dugger coach Harry Farthing after the T.A. Dugger Lady Cyclones battled back from a one-run deficit early to conquer the Unicoi County Middle Lady Patriots.
   With the game tied and two outs in the seventh inning, Jasmine Treadway stepped up for the Lady 'Clones with a lined shot to the third baseman.
   However, there was no catch on the other end of the throw to first and Tia Nave scrambled across the plate, giving T.A. Dugger the Middle 8 Tournament championship with a 2-1 win at the Bristol Sports Complex.
   The undefeated season was capped by a stunning pitching duel between Lady Cyclone Mary Edgar and Unicoi's Jessica Mason. The pitchers tossed seven and nine strikeouts, respectively, in a defensive contest.
   "I knew (Unicoi County) would come hunting and they did," Farthing said. "They are a great team, we've just got their number this year. It's taken me seven years to do this and I told the girls this was probably the greatest season in T.A. Dugger history, to my knowledge."
   "They are great students and great girls," he said. "They know how to win. It's been a long time coming. Win or lose, we would've had a good season, but this is about as good as it gets. I think I'll retire now."
   Unicoi County scored in the third inning after a fielder's choice to Nakita Mumpower. Chelsea Stephenson stepped up with a big double into left field, to give the Lady Patriots a 1-0 lead.
   T.A. Dugger bounced back in the fourth inning after two consecutive hits from Kendall Blackston and Tia Nave. It set up Mikael Oliver, who delivered an RBI single to tie the game.
   T.A. Dugger fended off Unicoi County with the bases loaded two straight times, but three great defensive plays in the seventh inning turned the tide.
   "If they hit if off of Mary tonight, it was my fault," Farthing said. "We call every pitch and she didn't have her best stuff tonight. We had some great plays defensively and it was a big key."
   Unicoi County got two quick outs in the inning before Tia Nave singled, setting up Treadway's errored game winner.
   "This was a special season," Farthing added. "When these kids move up to the high school level, we may be able to catch (Unicoi County) in softball. It takes a lot of support and patience, helping the girls and it's been a great year."
   Mary Edgar was named the MVP of the tournament, while Brittney Smith and Kendall Blackston were on the tournament squad.
   T.A. Dugger 7
   Robinson 2
   In the earlier semifinal outing, the Lady Cyclones got yet another no-hitter, this time from Brittney Smith.
   Smith used 10 strikeouts and solid defense to top the Robinson Lady Redskins 7-2.
   Robinson scored both runs in the seventh inning after an error and a walk. A wild pitch brought Autumn Gillis across the plate and a Melissa Shelton sacrificed RBI sent Erica Snapp across to cut into T.A. Dugger's lead, but it wouldn't be enough.
   The Lady Cyclones got rolling after an Edgar hit, followed by a Michaela Pietrowski RBI sacrifice to take a 1-0 lead.
   T.A. Dugger got back on the board in the third inning after a single from Leah Henson and a walk to Edgar. Brittney Smith walked, setting up a two-run single from Pietrowski. Smith scored on a Tia Nave walk, taking a 4-0 lead.
   The squad was caught up by Robinson's defense until the sixth inning, when Mikael Oliver and Jasmine Treadway singled. Holly Livingston, Henson and Edgar all followed with RBI singles, giving T.A. Dugger its seven runs.
   The Lady Cyclones had 10 hits in the outing and it set up their championship game with Unicoi County.