Lady Jr. Rangers upend Gate City

from staff reports

   For the Unaka Lady Jr. Rangers, a successful season finished on a successful note on Thursday afternoon.
   Unaka would take a two-game sweep over Gate City (Va.).
   In Game 1, a 12-2 Unaka victory, Logan Wagenseller got the offense going for the Lady Rangers with a base hit down the middle. She was moved to third base on a hit from Emily Asher.
   Unaka's defense was back up to its usual play, after slacking against Johnson County on Tuesday. Sallee Taylor took the mound for Unaka, striking out three of the first four batters that she faced.
   Brittney Westberry and Shauna Shahmoradi got the offense restarted for Unaka in the second inning, followed by a Wagenseller double that would score Westberry and Shahmoradi.
   Emily Asher laid down a spectacular bunt that scored Wagenseller on a suicide squeeze. This put Unaka up 5-1, and the lead continued to grow.
   Wagenseller finished 4-for-4 in Game 1, including a double to center field.
   Howen and Sampson picked up the only two hits for Gate City.
   Going into the last game of the season, Unaka was determined to go out with a victory.
   Backed up by excellent defense by Erica Wilson, Danielle Buck, and Jacyln Campbell, Taylor only allowed four hits for the second game.
   Hannah Colbaugh also made some excellent plays at home plate for the Lady Rangers, tagging out two runners that attempted to steal home.
   Kayla Winters ignited Unaka at the plate, smacking the ball to right field for a single. Wagenseller, Taylor, Shahmoradi and Campbell collected base hits during the first inning.
   The Gate City Devils would not score any runs until the fourth inning. Howren came home on a base hit and stolen bases, and Darnell scored on stolen bases after being nailed by a pitch from Taylor.
   However, Taylor regained her momentum and fired the ball, fanning the next three batters. Wagenseller once again led the offense for the Lady Rangers, going 3 for 3 in the game. Asher, Sallee Taylor and Wilson added 2-for-3 efforts.
   This season has been great. Last year, these girls were young players and they struggled to win. This year, their work ethics were stronger and they were more determined to win than ever. The eighth graders are magnificant players and good role models for the younger players. Coach Ronnie Hicks from Unaka High School has already talked with them about playing next year at the high school level. I am sure that we will be reading about their success at that level too. The young players will hopefully work hard during the summer and fall. Emily Asher, Brittney Westberry, Kayla Winters, and Hannah Colbaugh contributed to the team this year a great deal. They will be back and ready to win next year.