Miller's Plumbing bests Concrete for top honors

By Wes Holtsclaw

   It was a muddy mess, but the championship game in the Carter County League's senior girls softball division went ahead as planned on Tuesday night.
   In a battle between the top two squads, Miller's Plumbing held off a late charge from Peters Concrete for a 7-4 victory at Unaka Elementary to claim their third league championship.
   "We got four runs early and some crucial hits at crucial times," said Miller's Plumbing coach Dale Colbaugh. "That means a lot against a good team. Both pitchers, Lacey Oliver and Kayla Blevins from their team did an awesome job tonight."
   Oliver struck out four batters in three innings, while Blevins downed six. Miller's Plumbing advanced on six walks and a hit batter in the first inning to score four runs that would eventually tell the tale.
   "We came out hungry and wanted it," Colbaugh said. "They upset us last year in the tournament, but this is our third league championship in a row with a combined 46-5 record over the last three years, which is outstanding for these girls."
   Miller's opened up in the first inning with walks to Susie Loveday, Amy Colbaugh and Holly Grindstaff. Jacquelin Campbell advanced for Loveday before walks to Hannah Colbaugh and Tessa Lunceford helped rally a 4-0 lead.
   Peters Concrete battled back with walks to Nicole Cantrell and Kayla Blevins. A walk to Daranda Byrd loaded the bases for Jamie Icenhauer, who drove in Blevins. Miller's was too much defensively, as they escaped with the edge.
   Blevins battled back defensively for Peters Concrete in the second inning, striking out the side. Nikki Carrow opened with a hit for the Concrete squad, which got three quick outs afterwards.
   Miller's Plumbing wouldn't let Concrete hold them down in the third inning, after a walk to Mikki Oliver when Susie Loveday sent a shot into right field, which was dropped, advancing a run.
   It set up Amy Colbaugh, who delivered a crushing RBI double for Plumbing. Colbaugh scored on an errored shot from Hollie Grindstaff, taking a 7-1 lead, before Blevins fought her way out of the inning.
   Just as the game appeared out of reach, Peters Concrete struck back after two strikeouts to open their frame.
   Cantrell walked for Blevins, who delivered a crushing RBI single into the outfield. Keisha Miller followed suit with a walk for Peters, who got a big lift from a two-run Byrd single.
   But Miller's Plumbing used solid defensive playmaking to fight out of the inning and pick up the win after the 90-minute time limit.
   Dale Colbaugh was happy with his team's season.
   "It was a total team effort and great to coach a bunch that likes to win," he said. "It was a special season and I'm proud of them."
   Earlier in the evening, during the third-place outing, David's Trophies used a 10-run second inning to battle ahead and take a 10-9 victory from B&R Construction.
   Unaka middle teammates, B&R's Logan Wagenseller and Trophies' Sallee Taylor battled on the mound, with Taylor picking up the advantage at the end.