BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
There’s nothing better for a young ball team than to get wins under their belt and the youthful Elizabethton Lady Cyclones got exactly what they needed on Tuesday evening at Lady Cyclone Diamond after dropping a tough 9-7 decision to Grainger on Monday in their season-opener.
Behind the hot bat of Maggie Johnson who banged out four hits, the Lady Cyclones built a 9-0 lead through five innings and then held off the Lady Cougars of Sullivan Central to notch a 9-6 Three Rivers Conference win.
Freshman Madisun Pritchard recorded her first varsity win from the circle tossing four and a third innings holding the Lady Cougars scoreless while allowing only four hits and fanning two Central batters.
Sophomore reliever Kalie Peters came in pitched two and two-thirds of an inning in the win as well.
The Lady Cougars just had no answer to slowing down the hot-hitting Lady Cyclones who totaled 13 hits in the game propelled by Johnson’s three singles and a double.
Kaylen Shell, Kira Dillard, and Pritchard rapped out two hits each in the win while Maddie O’Quinn and Marley Wagner each picked a hit in the contest.
Elizabethton led the game 9-0 heading into the top of the seventh before Central woke up to put together a rally that produced six runs.
The big hit in the inning came off the bat of Alexia Chandler who took a ball deep over the center field fence for a two-run dinger.
“We hit the ball very well,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Kenneth Hardin. “We just got in a little spot there in the seventh inning. They didn’t quit.
“We had the opportunity to put it away there a couple of times where we had the bases loaded and didn’t score there when we should have but that’s okay—we will keep on playing.”
Aside from a big day hitting, the Lady Cyclones also had some dandy defensive plays including Shell tracking down a deep fly ball that had trouble written all over it down the left field line.
“Defense is going to be one of our strong points,” Hardin said. “The pitching is going to come around as well. The further we go and the more they get into it, they are going to throw a whole lot better.
“We have a bunch of young kids out there. We started a freshman and a sophomore relieved her. It’s just one of those things, but we are going to keep on playing.”
The Lady Cyclones will be hosting Richlands, VA on Thursday at 5 pm. The Lady Blue Tornado have one of the best pitchers around in junior Makenzie Osborne who recorded nearly 200 strikeouts on her way to the Virginia Class 2 Player of the Year award in 2018.