Lady Jr. Rangers sweep Johnson,  grab league title

from staff reports

   MOUNTAIN CITY -- Unaka's Lady Jr. Rangers snagged themselves a conference championship on Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of Johnson County.
   The Lady Rangers won the opener 13-3, then pulled off a 15-9 victory in Game 2.
   Johnson County would not allow Unaka to score in the first inning of play in Game 1. April McCloud scored the first run of the day for the Lady Longhorns by walking, then stealing the next three bases.
   Unaka's Tessa Lunceford, Jacyln Campbell and Brittney Westberry would all be walked by Watson, and they were knocked home on a hard line drive to left field from Shauna Shahmoradi.
   Sallee Taylor once again proved to be one of the best young pitchers in this area, allowing the Lady Longhorns one hit for the game. Lunceford, Westberry, Shahmoradi, and Erica Wilson each went 2 for 3 to slide Unaka to a 13-3 victory in the first game.
   The Lady Longhorns looked as if they were going to hand Unaka a loss for the second game of the evening.
   Westberry took the mound for the Lady Rangers, pitching two very good innings.
   "I was especially proud of Brittney Westberry," said Lady Rangers head coach Tammy Taylor. "She took the mound with a lot of pressure on her and she handled it great. However, the defense slacked off and made errors that put us in the hole."
   However, the Lady Longhorns got fired up in the third inning and scored a spectacular seven runs.
   McCloud, Watson, Meade, and Jennings would all get base hits for Johnson County.
   Unaka seemed to be plagued by defensive errors. The Lady Rangers' offense was also in the gutter, only scoring one run in the third inning.
   Taylor then took the mound again for Unaka, allowing no hits for the fourth inning.
   After a pep talk in the dugout, the Lady Rangers seemed to get fired up offensively.
   "I was very upset, not that we were losing, but the fact that we were not playing up to our potential," said Taylor. "It seemed as if we were plagued by errors. But, Coach Patty Taylor and Coach Glennie Asher helped me pump up the team's moral. They came out in the fourth inning, and had decided they were not going back to Stoney Creek with a loss."
   Shahmoradi nailed a base hit down the middle, then steal second on a wild pitch from Eller.
   Westberry laid down a bunt towards third base that would leave her at first, and move Shahmoradi into scoring position.
   Hannah Colbaugh would smack the ball down to right field that would score Shahmoradi and move Westberry into scoring position. Wilson, Logan Wagenseller and Campbell all got base hits as Unaka went up by one run, with two outs.
   Danielle Buck would step to the plate, busting a triple to center field. Lunceford followed Buck's lead, and hit another triple for the Lady Rangers.
   "The highlight of the game, other than winning, was Danielle's triple," Taylor said. "She is the team's best bunter, but she needed to realize that she could bust the ball, too. She probably had a home run, but I held her up at third to leave her in scoring position."
   When the game was over, the Lady Rangers had top honors in conference play.
   "I am very proud of these young ladies, not just because they are winners, but because they are great kids and great students," Taylor said. "I am proud to say that I had the privilege of being their coach.