The District 1-A Softball Championship series lived up to the hype on Thursday.
Unaka captured the title with a 5-3 victory over Cloudland in the second game of the championship series after the Lady ‘Landers forced a game two with an 11-3 victory.
With the win, the Lady Rangers will host Greenback while Cloudland will travel to Cosby on Monday for the Region 1-A semifinals.
In the winner-take-all battle, it was exciting from the beginning.
Cloudland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Leah Birchfield hit a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Karah Fields to cross home plate. Unaka, however, answered as Sadie Shoun hit a triple that allowed Madison Pierce to score. The Lady Rangers kept the inning going as Noel Collins hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Shoun to touch the plate, and Erika Potter took advantage of a Cloudland miscue to give UHS a 3-1 lead going to the second.
The Lady ‘Landers added a run in the visiting side of the second as Taylor Hicks scored off a Heaven Caraway single. Unaka added two runs to their lead as Tala Potter and Pierce scored off a Shoun hit.
Neither team was able to get back on the board until the fourth inning as Jasmine Birchfield scored off a Unaka error. Cloudland continued to battle, but the Lady Rangers were able to make key plays to secure the District 1-A crown.
Shoun and Potter had two hits apiece to lead Unaka while Shoun had three RBIs.
In the circle, Shoun picked up the win as she allowed just two earned runs on eight hits. Cloudland saw Krisi Bare and J. Birchfield record two hits. Kenzie Birchfield had a strong showing in relief as she struck out six batters while allowing two unearned runs on six hits.
To force the second game, the Lady ‘Landers took control and never let up.
Unaka scored first as Shoun scored off a CHS error in the bottom fo the first. Cloudland, however, took control as J. Birchfield hit a home run over the center field fence that plated three runs.
A five-run fourth inning allowed CHS to take an 8-1 advantage into the bottom of the fourth. Unaka trimmed a run off the advantage with a solo homer over center field by Taylor Shanks.
The Lady Landers added two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to secure the win.
Leah Birchfield, Gracie Cook, Caraway, J. Birchfield and Ka. Birchfield had two hits each.
K. Birchfield allowed just one earned run on six hits in a complete game effort.
For Unaka, Kendall Bare, Kailey Wilson, Erika Potter, Shoun, Pierce and Shanks had one hit each.
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