A Tellico Plains rally didn’t phase the Unaka softball on Friday night.
The Lady Rangers punched a ticket to the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro for the third consecutive season with a 10-2 victory over Tellico Plains in the Class A sectionals after scoring two unanswered runs in the bottom of the sixth. It was the third straight season Unaka has defeated Tellico Plains in the sectional round.
With the win, Unaka advances to next week’s Class A state tournament which is slated to open on Tuesday afternoon.
In the early going, it was all Unaka.
The Lady Rangers jumped out to an early lead as Erika Potter hit a home run over the center field in the fence that also brought Madison Pierce and Sadie Shoun across to plate to give UHS a 3-0 lead after one inning of play. Abbi Fuel added another Unaka run in the bottom of the second as she cross home plate off a Lady Bears error.
Tellico Plains got on the board with a solo home run by Hannah McGowen, but Unaka answered in a big way as Lilie Kiser hit a triple to scored Shoun. Noelle Collins continued the inning as her sacrifice fly allowed Beth Lowe to push the lead to 6-1 going to the fourth inning.
The fifth inning saw McGowen strike again with another homerun. Kailey Wilson hit a deep single for Unaka that allowed Kiki Forney and Kiser to score as Unaka jumped out to an 8-2 lead after five complete innings.
Tellico Plains, however, tried to spoil Unaka’s plan.
The Lady Bears took advantage of base runners and timely hits to plate six runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at 8-8. Unaka answered to load the bases without an out in the bottom of the sixth. Kiser drew a walk that allowed Pierce to break the stalemate.
Potter added a run as Collins put the ball into play to give the Lady Rangers a 10-8 advantage going to the final inning. In the top of the seventh, Unaka kept the Lady Bears at bay – holding them to just one base runner – to secure the win and the Spring Fling berth.
Kiser and Shoun had two hits apiece, while Potter tallied three RBIs. Collins, Wilson and Kiser had two RBIs each.
Wilson, Collins, Potter and Pierce each had a hit.
In the circle, Wilson allowed eight runs on 12 hits in just over five innings of work. Shoun allowed just three hits in just under two innings of work.
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