Lady Cyclones held in check by Unicoi Co.

By Wes Holtsclaw

   CHURCH HILL--Lightning may have stopped the game Monday night, but nothing could stop the arm of Unicoi County's Rachel Edwards.
   Leading 2-1 after play was suspended in the second inning the night before, Edwards and the Lady Devils controlled the Elizabethton Lady Cyclone offense and left with a 5-1 victory at Volunteer.
   Edwards finished the game after allowing just one hit, which came the night before when Elizabethton's Katie Hubbard became the first Lady Cyclone in recent memory to smash one over the fence for a home run.
   "Unicoi's got a great team and they played tough today," said Elizabethton coach Ken Hardin. "One of these days (we'll get them). We're going to keep working hard."
   Unicoi County will move on to face Happy Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday, while Elizabethton must defeat Sullivan Central at 5 p.m. to stay alive in District 1-AA softball play.
   The game was close at 3-1 until an error and misfielding gave the Lady Devils room to add two more runs in their final at bat.
   "We made a couple of mental mistakes and good teams make you pay," said Hardin. "But our defense is much improved from the beginning of the year. We've got to come back tomorrow against a good Central team and do better."
   Elizabethton held a 1-0 lead Monday after Hubbard's shot over the left-center fence in the second inning.
   Later on in that frame, Unicoi's Kellye Lingerfelt doubled and set up a two-run shot from Crystal Rutherford to give their squad the lead when the sky lit up around Lady Falcon field.
   The Lady Cyclones put it in play consistently on Tuesday, with only three players striking out once. However, they got caught by defensive plays in favor of the defending District champs.
   "We've got to hit it better than that or it's not going to make a difference," added Hardin.
   Unicoi got on the board early Tuesday when Emily Bennett doubled and scored on an RBI single from Stephanie Byrd.
   Elizabethton's defense was solid from that point, making good plays in the infield and outfield.
   Maggie Austin made four running grabs in the field during the game, while Kristie Keys had a couple sent her way at second base.
   The final two Unicoi runs came in the bottom of the sixth inning after an out when Natalie Lockner singled and advanced on a throwing error.
   Lingerfelt drove her across the plate with an RBI single to set up Rutherford, who doubled in her third RBI.
   Jessica Robinson was solid on the mound for Elizabethton, despite taking the loss, going without a walk during the contest.
   Unicoi County is expected to pitch Natalie Lockner against Happy Valley tonight.