Lady Rangers capture WVC title

By Tim Chambers
STAR STAFF
tchambers@starhq.com

   Most of the Lady Rangers are too young to know who Carly Simon is, but who could have blamed them if they had been singing one of her greatest hits, "Nobody Does it Better," after the game. Tuesday afternoon at Ronnie Hicks Field, nobody did it any better than the Lady Creekers.
   Scratching and clawing the entire way, Unaka knocked off University High 3-2 in an eight-inning affair to clinch the Watauga Valley Conference championship.
   "Give all the credit to the girls," stated Lady Ranger head coach Ronnie Hicks. "They are well deserving of this championship."
   As well as the Rangers played, it was the mastermind of Coach Hicks, rolling the dice on several occasions, that kept his team in the game.
   University had trouble solving starting pitcher Ryann Musick in the first two innings as the hard-throwing lefty gave up only one hit before giving way to Danielle Williams in the third.
   Musick displayed several pitches and seemed to display more junk that Fred Sanford and Son.
   "We wanted this one bad," said Musick. "We wanted to win this championship more than anything."
   Meanwhile the Ranger bats were silent for three innings as Jr. Bucs pitcher Cori McVey allowed only two baserunners, one on a swinging bunt single and another on a hits batsman.
   Williams entered the game in the third inning throwing flames and striking out the side thanks to a smoking fast ball that had the Stoney Creek Fire Department on standby.
   "I think we are a good combination because she (Musick) throws some good off speed pitches and I can come in and throw the hard stuff," stated Williams.
   The Bucs reached Williams for an unearned run in the fourth when Terry Crane walked and advanced to third on a single by Megan Backers. An infield drop that went for an error allowed Crane to score, giving UH a 1-0 lead.
   Unaka wasted no time tying the score in the bottom half as Julie Roberson walked and Heaton followed with a shot that rolled to the fence, allowing Robinson to score from first and tying the game at 1-1.
   Musick re-entered the in the fifth and was greeted with a triple off the bat of Jessica McNutt. A ground out allowed the run to score, giving UH a 2-1 advantage.
   Unaka rallied to tie the score in the same frame as Kelly Allen singled and moved to second on a sacrifice by Kristi Moffitt. A infield single by Jessica Moffit followed by a throwing error brought home Allen to tie the score.
   Musick pitched a scoreless sixth before giving way to Williams in the seventh. The Roane State signee shut the door in the seventh and pitched our of a jam in the eight by leaving a runner stranded at third in the eight.
   Unaka opened the eight in championship fashion as Jessica Moffitt slammed a fast ball into the gap in center for a double. Brittney Taylor tried to bunt the runner to third, but failed to do so.
   With the winning duck on the pond, Hicks allowed Taylor to swing away, and the sophomore sensation came through by ripping a double off the left-field wall that scored Moffitt and set off a celebration in the middle of the field.
   "I wanted to make up for the other three times at bat," said Taylor. "I wanted to hit it as far as I could."
   Jessica Moffit added: "We knew we had to make it happen and I wanted to start it off. I am happy that we won."
   "The duo of Williams and Musick worked to perfection, allowing only two runs and four hits on the day. McVey gave up six hits while striking out eight batters in the loss.
   Heaton and Jessica Moffitt had banner days, going 2-for-3 while Taylor and Allen added hits for the Rangers.
   "She normally has around 13 or 14 strikeouts per game but our kids did a good job getting the bat on the ball today," added Hicks. "I was proud of the job Megan (Heaton) did today behind the plate. I am pleased with all the way they all played."