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Unaka Rangers rack Lady Longhorns 9-1 in softball competition

JC’s Bella Miller slides safely into 3nd versus Unaka

By Tim Chambers

One bad apple might not spoil the whole bunch but one bad inning did on Friday at Bob Kirksey Field. Johnson County fell to the Lady Rangers 9-1 in a non-conference game that featured a bizarre first inning.
The Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning on a solo home run by Kaitlyn Weaver. Johnson County bounced back and appeared to tie the game in the bottom half but instead got delivered a blow that would deflate them.
Eden Fenner reached on an error then moved to third on Marley Eggers sacrifice bunt attempt that got misplayed allowing both runners to be safe.
The Horns had a chance to score but failed to tag up on a fly ball to centerfield. After that came disaster.
Michala Cretsinger hit a ball that appeared to be well up the middle that would have scored two runs. Instead, Eggers was called out for interference and Fenner was sent back to third.
The next batter popped up to short ending what should have been a two-run inning for the Lady Longhorns.
They never recovered after that.
“It just seemed to deflate us,” said Johnson County’s head coach Angela Blevins about the call. “I didn’t agree with it but we still had six innings left to score some runs. We had a runner on base in scoring position five times and couldn’t get them home. You have to get clutch hits and we’re not doing that. We’re just not scoring runs when we need to.”
Blevins was spot on in her assessment.
The Longhorns could muster only four hits and didn’t score a run until the final inning.
Courtney Brooks ripped an RBI single scoring Bella Miller who had reached on an infield base hit. Miller was 2-3 with a run scored.
Michala Cretsinger had the only other base hit, an infield single.
Corie Schuettler pitched six scoreless innings for the Lady Rangers before leaving the game. She struck out five and walked only one to record the win. Fifteen of Johnson County’s outs were recorded by Unaka’s infield.
“We’re still searching for that right combination,” added Blevins. “We’ve got 20 players in the program and several of them could get a shot. We’ve got to find a way to start hitting the ball and getting on base. We’ve played well defensively so far but we’re not scoring run. You can’t win when you can’t hit.”
Weaver, Haley Fair and Samantha Tipton had two hits apiece for the Lady Rangers.
Hannah Brooks went the distance on the mound for Johnson County.

Sullivan South 13
Johnson County 2
Things weren’t any better on Thursday night.  The Rebels left Mountain City with an 11-run victory over the Lady Longhorns.
Michala Cretsinger had a pair of hits in three trips to the plate to lead the offense. Hannah Brooks added an RBI triple.
Marley Eggers, Eden Fenner and Alexis Headley had the only other hits for the Horns who dropped to 0-1 in the conference.