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Lady Longhorns walk away with 11-9 victory

Following a tough loss at the Greeneville Tiny Day Tournament earlier in the week, the Unaka Lady Rangers were focused and ready to take on the Johnson County Lady Longhorns again, this time in Johnson County. Putting up one of their best fights for the season, Unaka very nearly made a big upset late in the game that would have cost the Lady Longhorns the win. Fortunately, Johnson County managed to maintain their lead with a very strong sixth inning showing of their own that allowed the Lady Longhorns to walk away with an 11-9 victory.
No one could doubt Unaka’s efforts as they fought fiercely in one of the longest and most exciting games that the Lady Longhorns have played all season. Even Coach Dana Smith seemed to be impressed by the Lady Rangers’ performance. “Unaka was ready to play. I knew that they would be coming out after us because they have improved a lot. They worked hard. We knew that when we played them away, number 45 hit a home run against us, so when I called timeout to talk to them we knew that we were going to have to make her look at some pitches.”
Making exception for a few late game glitches, the Lady Longhorns’ defense was back in good form, keeping the Lady Rangers from making any big sweeps in the first five innings, despite a steady string of contact on the ball that resulted in a few isolated runs. In all, Unaka had thirteen base hits, outdoing Johnson County by a single hit with 12.
Thankfully, Johnson County finally made some offensive strides as well, with pitcher Cindy Eddington landing two homeruns, alongside a couple of doubles by Ashley Arnold. For Coach Smith, strengthening the offense has been one of the biggest issues this season. “Hitting the ball better consistently is what we have been working really hard on. I think that we are part of the way there. Cindy has been hitting the ball well at times. We’re still working on her delivery of the bat, and the pitch has to be in the right place for her, but she did very well tonight. She is on pace to be doing very well by the time she is a sophomore. We’re working on her mental side of pitching and I’m hoping that the more we do that and the more time she spends on the mound the more she will improve,” Smith said.
With a 136 pitches overall, Eddington managed to hold out the entire game, throwing 82 strikes in all and striking out three batters. However, despite leading 6-4 in the fifth inning, some slips in the defense actually gave Unaka the lead after their turn at bat in the sixth. Having allowed four runners to make it across home plate, the Lady Longhorns knew they needed to pick up the slack as they took their last turn at bat.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.