Alana Parsons didn’t know if she would get the chance in the bottom of the ninth, but she made the most of the opportunity.
As North Greene held a meeting in the pitching circle with the Lady Huskies holding a 1-0 lead, Unaka Head Coach Kenneth Chambers told Kendall Bare and Parsons one simple thing.
“I told Kendall (Bare) and Alana that we had our best three hitters up,” Chambers said. “Sadie (Shoun) was on, and I told them that they had to get her in. Alana said they are probably trying to decide to pitch to me or walk me, and I said if they pitch to you, you hammer it and she hammered it.”
The senior took the first pitch of the at-bat and hit a two-run homerun over the left-field fence to lift Unaka to a 2-1 victory over North Greene in the Region 1-A Championship game.
With the win, Unaka will host Harriman on Friday with a trip to the Spring Fling on the line. North Greene will travel to Oliver Springs – who dispatched Harriman 6-2 in the Region 1-2A Championship game.
Wednesday’s game was a defensive struggle for eight innings.
“We had a couple of chances to win, and we had a couple of chances to lose,” Chambers said. “We’ve had some hard ballgames last little bit. They’ve worked hard this year, and they keep working hard. I hope being battle-tested helps us next game too.”
North Greene saw two runners get on base, but Unaka used a fielder’s choice and fly out to end the inning unscathed.
The Lady Rangers saw Shoun reach base on an error in the home side of the frame but was unable to plate the run.
With the exception of Jill Faust reaching on an error in the third and a Parsons since, in the bottom of the fourth, the teams were retired in near order over the next three innings.
After North Greene went three-up and three-down in the top of the fifth, Kylie Blevins hit a single to lead off the bottom of the fifth, but Unaka was unable to take advantage.
Each team was unable to take advantage of a base runner in the sixth or seventh as extra innings were needed to decide the winner.
The eighth inning was much the same as the inning ended scoreless.
Kessie Antonelli opened the top of the ninth with a single and then advanced to third on the throw and bobble.
The next at-bat saw Cambell Gaby hit a deep fly ball to center field that allowed Antonelli to score off a tag.
That gave North Greene a 1-0 lead going to the bottom of the ninth.
Shoun led Unaka off with a single to center field to lead off the home side of the frame, and Trinity Bowers moved the runner with a sacrifice bunt.
That set the stage for Parsons walk-off.
Parsons went 2-for-4 at the plate, while Shoun, Bare, Blevins, and Faust each had a hit.
Bowers struck out five batters and allowed just one unearned run on five hits in nine innings of work.
Gaby recorded seven strikeouts for the Lady Huskies, while allowing just two runs on six hits.
Antonelli recorded two hits.
“Hats off to North Greene,” Chambers said. “Both teams were the same tonight and they are just as good as we are. I hope they go a long way too.”
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