Elizabethton unable to control Unicoi County

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The Unicoi County All-Stars handed the Elizabethton All-Stars an 8-2 loss in the district softball tournament on Tuesday at the National League field.
   A combined total of seven runs through the second and fourth frames proved to be the difference for Unicoi County, which is off to a good start thus far in tournament action.
   "Elizabethton is a good team, but I think my girls just played hard tonight," said Unicoi County manager Ray Webb. "We got the big hits with runners on, and that was the main difference."
   Unicoi Co. captured its first of the night when a hard-hit ball from Kara Woods slipped past the Elizabethton shortstop to score Grace Cannon.
   It was a lead of 1-0 held by Unicoi after the first inning, plus strong game-long performances from the mound, with Woods connecting on 10 strikeouts, and Kadey Robinson retiring nine batters for Elizabethton.
   Unicoi got the bats going in the top of the third, as a line-drive to center field from Cannon drove home Karina McAnoy and Whitney Webb.
   Allie Vines followed with a shot to right-center field, which brought in Cannon to give Unicoi a four-run advantage.
   "The girls took every base they could take, and they also hit the ball really well tonight -- especially in considering we were facing a great pitcher," said Ray Webb.
   Elizabethton responded with a run in the bottom of the third when a hit from Danielle Matherly went past the first-baseman to score Brittany Henson.
   Another big inning came for Unicoi in the fourth frame after several nice hits, along with a couple of Elizabethton errors, allowed them to add four more runs.
   "We had a lot of errors, and we got down too far and it became too late for us to make it back up," said Cox. "They got some runners on base and then it went down hill from there, but we'll come back tomorrow."
   A hit from Vines and mistakes by the Elizabethton infield created the opportunity for Cannon and Woods to come home.
   The last run scored was the result of a hit from Chelsea Hutchins, driving in Vines.
   Elizabethton added one run in the bottom of the fifth when Amanda Shultz nailed a triple down the right-field line to bring home Brittany Henson.
   After Ashley Cantrell was hit by a pitch and Robinson received a walk, Elizabethton was unable to connect with a much-needed hit, which left the bases loaded.
   "We just could never get our bats going," said Cox. "We're going to come back out here tomorrow at 8:30, and hopefully we'll be able to get them bats working for us."
   The contest between Johnson County and Blountville was suspended during the top of the second, due to lightning and rain.
   Johnson Co. has a one-run lead of 4-3 with one out.