Dick tosses perfect game in 10-0 Lady Warrior win

By Wes Holtsclaw

   ERWIN--The Happy Valley Lady Warriors entered their contest with Johnson County on Wednesday knowing that the Lady Longhorns would be bringing their "A-Game" to the District 1-AA Tournament.
   It simply wasn't evident as the Lady Warriors attacked the Lady Devil Diamond from all corners, using a perfect game from junior pitcher Alicia Dick to command a 10-0 victory over the Lady 'Horns in Erwin.
   Happy Valley coach Karri Killen knew Johnson County was a surging team, and her team didn't overlook them.
   "We take it game by game," Killen said. "Wins and losses don't matter at this point and we came in here not looking past Johnson County."
   The contest was originally slated for Volunteer High School, but moved to Unicoi County to get the tournament underway this week. The early outing saw Unicoi County spring past Volunteer 13-0, setting up a fifth meeting between the squads this year.
   "Tomorrow, we've got to go out, play hard and be ready for Unicoi," Killen said.
   From the mound, Dick was resilient, tossing six strikeouts in her perfect outing. The big key was the performance of the Lady Warrior defense that stood tall.
   "Alicia tossed a perfect game and the defense was behind her a hundred percent," Killen said. "We were hitting the ball well, but I told them that we needed to manufacture some runs. Once we got some in and settled down, they did their job."
   The Lady Warriors opened offensively in the first inning with a single from Mandy Byrd. Leanna Howell followed with a double into center field, giving Happy Valley the 1-0 lead.
   Johnson County steadily held off the Lady Warriors during the second and third innings with good infield defense from Rebecca Boney and Katie Nelson.
   By the bottom of the fourth inning, the close game was aching for an offensive explosion.
   Jessica Blevins and Kortney Goulds opened up with singles for the Lady Warriors, setting up an infield shot from Dick. Johnson County pitcher Laura Peters fielded the ball, but threw it past third baseman Charlie Hodge, giving Blevins a run.
   The error was followed by a wild pitch to Jeannie Hawkins, giving Goulds the opportunity to score. Hawkins followed with an RBI single, giving Happy Valley a 4-0 lead after four innings of play.
   The Lady Warriors were stalled in the fifth inning, but bounced right back into the mix of things during the sixth.
   Goulds and Dick opened with singles, setting up another Hawkins RBI shot. Jennifer Osborne followed with a two-run double, scoring on an RBI single from Byrd.
   Terra Whaley blasted a triple, scoring Byrd to set up an errored shot from Howell, ending the game early at 10-0 in favor of Happy Valley.
   It was a sweet win for the Lady Warriors and especially Dick, as Happy Valley took another step forward in the postseason.
   "Our defense is always there and I can always count on them," Dick said. "I was getting tired late in the game and I hoped our bats would come around. We got on the board and that helped out a lot."
   The victory puts Happy Valley against the Lady Devils at 7 p.m., while Johnson County opens with Volunteer at 4:30. The contests are slated for Volunteer High School, but may take place at Unicoi County in the event of rain.