Lady Chargers suffer extra-inning heartbreak in state tourney opener
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
"Their pitcher (Kara Woods) did a good job of keeping us off balance. They minimized our opportunities to score," Westview head softball coach J.B. Suiter said.
Woods and the Unicoi defense limited the Lady Chargers (36-12) to five baserunners over eight innings of play. Woods struck out eight batters and didn't allow a walk while giving up just three hits. The UC defense did commit a pair of errors.
Lady Charger starter Shaylon Robb, who took the loss, scattered 10 hits while striking out six and walking one.
After the first seven innings were scoreless, Unicoi County (45-3) sent the top of its lineup to the plate to start the eighth. Mikayla Treadway singled to left field. WHS outfielder Macy Vincent let the ball get by her and roll to the fence, allowing Treadway to advance all the way to third base. Whitney Webb then squirted a bunt single to the right side to plate Treadway with the game's first run. A sacrifice bunt moved Webb into scoring position, and a two-out double to the fence by Ali Gardner brought Webb home for a 2-0 Unicoi lead. Robb gave up an infield single but that runner was hit by a batted ball for the third out.
"The better team won today. At this time of year, you can't make mistakes," Suiter said.
Trailing for the first time at 2-0 and needing baserunners, Westview got a gift when UC catcher Whitley Hensley dropped the third strike to leadoff batter Shanna Chappell and then overthrew first base. After Woods got another strikeout for the first out, Kelly Gaston put down a sacrifice bunt to move Chappell into scoring position, but a flyout was the last out of the game giving Unicoi the 2-0 victory and sending Westview into the losers bracket.
Robb gave up a leadoff single to start the game, but stranded the runner at second base. Westview went down in order in its half of the first.
Westview's best scoring opportunity came in the second inning. After Robb retired the side in order in the top of the second, Ashley Bynum led off with a single and Sam Giesler bunted and reached on an error to put two runners on with no outs. Wood then got a strikeout and a Mckenzie Norris bunt attempt was popped up. A groundout left both WHS runners on base and the score still tied at 0-0.
Unicoi threatened in the top of the fifth with back-to-back one-out singles, but they too failed on a bunt and a fly to Swaim in center kept the game scoreless.
Robb, Bynum and Jenna Hazelwood all singled for the Lady Chargers.