BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones came out of the chute like gangbusters against the Sullivan Central Lady Cougars, but the Lady Cougars tried their best to sink their claws in down the stretch.
Elizabethton never gave in and as a result and earned a 12-9 Three Rivers Conference victory after banging out 17 hits in the contest.
Flipping the scoreboard for five runs in the top of the second inning, Elizabethton wanted to make an early statement.
Kaylen Shell sandwiched a single between two outs to get the game leaning in the Lady Cyclones favor.
A Marley Wagner two-strike double picked up Shell for the game’s first run. After a Hannah Edwards single put runners at first and third, Maddie O’Quinn kept the rally rolling along with a single plating Wagner.
Maggie Johnson kept swinging a hot bat for Coach Ken Hardin’s squad when she doubled to left field to bring both of her teammates around to score making it a 4-0 game.
Johnson took third on a wild pitch and was chased home when Kira Dillard singled to left field to stake starting pitcher Madisun Pritchard to a 5-0 advantage.
Central didn’t take long to respond as the Lady Cougars answered with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the second inning to even the game at 5-5 taking advantage of three walks and four hits.
Looking to mirror its second inning output, the Lady Cyclones exceeding the previous at-bat by tacking on seven runs in the top of the third to take a 12-5 lead.
Haley Fair roped a double to left field to kick off the inning. After Shell was retired on a ground ball, Pritchard helped her cause by picking up an RBI on a single to left scoring Fair.
Torrie Roberts came on to run for Pritchard and advanced to second on Wagner’s second base hit of the contest.
A wild pitch allowed both runners to advance before Edwards grounded out for the second out of the frame but not before Roberts raced home to make it a 7-5 contest.
O’Quinn’s single scored Wagner to extend the lead to 8-5 Lady Cyclones. Singles by Johnson and Dillard loaded the bags full of ‘Betsy baserunners.
A base-clearing double off the bat of Autumn Hensley added to the lead as the Lady Cyclones pushed their lead to 11-5.
Fair’s second double of the contest scored Hensley, and Elizabethton found themselves on top 12-5.
From that point, the Lady Cyclone defense played behind Pritchard and Edwards as Central scored one in the bottom of the fourth and three times in the bottom of the fifth before the Lady Cyclones put the Lady Cougars in a cage the rest of the way to earn the 12-9 win.
O’Quinn and Wagner collected three hits in the game while Johnson, Dillard, Fair, and Shell added two base hits apiece.
Hensley had 3 RBI’s with O’Quinn and Johnson driving home two runs each. Pritchard notched the win from the circle with Edwards earning the save.
Central batters also were solid clubbing 13 hits in the contest led by Flannagan’s 4-for-4 performance at the plate.