Lady Falcons avenge earlier loss to Lady Urchins

Tianna Castillo slides into third during the fifth inning as Lauren Thompson attempts to apply the tag. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Tianna Castillo slides into third during the fifth inning as Lauren Thompson attempts to apply the tag. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
INGOMAR – Ingomar got a bit of redemption in their 11-4 win over East Union on Thursday. East Union had handed the Lady Falcons a solid loss in the county tournament only a week earlier.
“We showed up and we played well tonight,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “East Union embarrassed us at the county tournament and we talked about coming in and playing better, making the game competitive.”
“I give credit to the girls,” Wilbanks said, “They did a good job tonight. I think they took that loss at the county tournament personally. We hit the ball and played really good defense and kinda caught them on a bad night, because they’re a really good team.”
Just as East Union had done at the county tournament, Ingomar sprinted out to an early lead. Ingomar batted around in the first and scored four runs to lead 4-0.
The Lady Falcons had six hits and also took advantage of some misplayed balls in the outfield to manufacture their runs. Lauren Thompson had a key double, driving in the first two runs of the game.
Ingomar picked up two more runs in the second inning and looked to have a third run, but that run was erased as the runner was ruled to have left early and the inning ended.
Ingomar had staked winning pitcher Carson Grisham to a 9-0 lead at the end of the third inning as the Lady Falcons scored three more runs with Grisham hitting the fielder’s choice RBI and Gara Beth Self smashed a two RBI double.
East Union scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Callie Frazier and Claudia Hill drove in runs in the fifth inning. Kallie Roberts and Rebecca Sheffield hit back to back doubles to drive in runs in the sixth.
Ingomar added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
“They (Ingomar) hit some balls hard,” East Union coach Josh Blythe said. “I was proud of the fighting back from adversity at the end, we could have laid down. If you have 10 errors, you don’t deserve to win a ballgame.”
Maggie Smithey went 4-4 and scored three runs on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Maggie Smithey went 4-4 and scored three runs on Thursday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union hosts Middleton in home opener

Cage West follows Chase Hall's block to break a long run in the first half for East Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Cage West follows Chase Hall’s block to break a long run in the first half for East Union. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union will host their inaugural home opener on campus Friday as they entertain Middleton, TN at 7:00. East Union enters the game 1-0 while Middleton is 0-1.
“Our defense played well the other night (at Houlka), I thought we had a couple of guys that need to play better,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “Offense has got nowhere to go but up, our offensive line is the issue. We also lost two of our starting running backs against Houlka and that never helps.”
Duley said that offensively the Urchins need to clean up the line play and work on exchanges in the backfield in hopes of improving play. The Urchins will need to do a better job protecting the ball and not fumble as they did in the opening game last Thursday.
Duley said the injury report included running back Chase Hall and center Caleb Stephens, both starters are doubtful for Friday’s game.
“Offensively, they (Middleton) will run the spread, Duley said. “They’ve got a freshman quarterback who is very athletic. On defense they will run a 3-3 stack, with a lot of blitzing and stunting out of that stack.”
“We’ve got our work cut out for us.” Duley said. “This week we are focusing a lot more on us. It’s almost like another week of fall work because we are not where we need to be. We are going to focus on Middleton obviously, but we are going to take some time to get better at what we do as well too.”
Duley said he expects the team to play at the same level that they normally do and that the excitement over the new football facilty will be more for the parents and grandparents, as well as people of the community who have followed East Union for many years.
“I think they(players) are excited to have our own stadium,” Duley said. “They always play hard and hopefully we’ll play much better than we did last week.”

Lady Eagles rally late to clip Mantachie

Jesslyn Brewer had a big day at the plate on Monday, going 4-4 and scoring the winning run. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jesslyn Brewer had a big day at the plate on Monday, going 4-4 and scoring the winning run. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ENTERPRISE – West Union reached within and pulled out some game-ending heroics in their come from behind 6-5 win over Mantachie on Monday. The Lady Eagles scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to post the win.
“We didn’t give up,” West Union coach Hugh Yates said. “We kept fighting. We had a pretty good lead at 4-1, but we let them back into the game with a couple of errors and they hit the ball pretty good too.”
Hailey Steen led off the seventh and reached second on an error. Jesslyn Brewer followed with her fourth single of the day to drive in Steen and tie the game. Brewer advanced to second when the relay went to home. Callie Baggett’s sacrifice fly moved Brewer to third and Kylie Massengill drove her in with a fly ball to center.
West Union scored all four of their early runs in the third inning. The Lady Eagles sent nine batters to the plate, pounding out four hits and benefited from two Mantachie errors. Baggett drove in two runs with Massengill and Chase Coffey collecting RBI singles.
Mantachie scored two runs in the fifth and single runs in the sixth and seventh innings and held a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh before the Lady Eagles rallied for the win.
“I guess we decided there at the last that we were going to get it back,” Yates said. “We kept working and working and we were successful. I’m very proud of them.”
Baggett was the winning pitcher for West Union. The Lady Eagles will host Myrtle on Tuesday in 1A division play.
Hailey Steen started the Lady Eagle rally in the bottom of the seventh, reaching on an error. Here Steen scores the tying run of the inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Hailey Steen started the Lady Eagle rally in the bottom of the seventh, reaching on an error. Here Steen scores the tying run of the inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union opens new stadium on Friday

East Union will host their first-ever on campus football game on Friday night. Prior to this year the team played home games at BNA Bank Park. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union will host their first-ever on campus football game on Friday night. Prior to this year the team played home games at BNA Bank Park. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – The clock is winding down for the opening kickoff at East Union’s new football stadium facility with their home opener on Friday night against Middleton, TN at 7:00.
“We have asked the contractors to try to have both public restrooms and the concession stand ready for Friday night,” East Union principal Ray Kennedy said. “They have been working really hard to get those items ready so we can have the game.”
The new scoreboard was being installed on Wednesday morning at the field and a fence has recently been installed around the field/stadium area as well.
“Now it’s down to thing like garbage cans and other such items that we will need to have,” Kennedy said.
“There are a lot of people that have made this happen,” Kennedy said. “The vision of the school board and our superintendent had in this undertaking and our supervisors have also been a big help to us in this as well.”
Kennedy praised assistant principal Chris Basil, athletic director Tim McDonald and head football coach Scott Duley for their hard work in attempting to get all the components together to make opening night happen.
“They have worked hard and we appreciate all their efforts,” Kennedy said.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday night at 6:45 prior to kickoff. Letters of invitation have been sent out to county supervisors, school board members and other special contributors to the football program. Kennedy said they have requested their attendance to be a part of the special ceremony on the football field.
East Union's new scoreboard was installed on Wednesday in the south end zone. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union’s new scoreboard was installed on Wednesday in the south end zone. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union holds off Myrtle in softball

Kallie Roberts of East Union slides into third ahead of the throw to Myrtle's Karlie Bolden on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Kallie Roberts of East Union slides into third ahead of the throw to Myrtle’s Karlie Bolden on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

BY DENNIS CLAYTON
MYRTLE – East Union took the early lead and managed to hold off a late Myrtle comeback attempt to win the non-division game between county rivals on Thursday 9-5.
“The game was a lot closer than the 9-0 lead we had at one time,” East Union coach Josh Blythe said. “Myrtle is well-coached and a good ball club, if they catch a ball here or turn a double play here, it’s a different lead.”I’m proud to get a win, we started out 0-2 and now we’ve got six wins in a row.”
We’ve got division starting up soon and we’ve been fortunate the last few years to win that,” Blythe said. I believe we are capable of winning it again. We’ve got to find out what motivates us and makes us the best that we can be if we want to be a great ball team.”
The game was close through the first four innings as East Union held a narrow 2-0 lead over the Lady Hawks courtesy of Hannah White’s drive to the outfield that scored pinch runner Abby Blair and Claudia Hill.
The Lady Urchins padded the lead in their fifth as they batted around in the order, pounding out five hits. Rebecca Sheffield and Tianna Castillo had back to back doubles to pace the team offensively.
East Union added three more runs in the sixth as Sheffield doubled again to drive in a run while Castillo and Callie Frazier picked up a RBI with their singles to stretch the lead to 9-0.
Myrtle sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, scoring four runs. Megan Lowery’s lead off hit got the inning going for the Lady Hawks and she later scored. Lauren Coggin had a huge single that drove in two of the Myrtle runs.
Myrtle scored another run in the seventh as Karlie Bolden singled and was later driven in on Amber Cook’s single. East Union was able to end the inning and the game without further damage.
“We just made too many uncharacteristic errors,” Myrtle coach Marty Cook said. “We probably had the worst defensive game we’ve had all year. We put a few innings together at the end and scored some runs, but credit East Union, they hit the ball hard and made us make plays. We didn’t do the same back to them until the last couple of innings.”
Myrtle will open division play on Tuesday with an away game at West Union. East Union will play a non-division game at home against Itawamba on Tuesday.
Ashton Hogue of Myrtle gets the force and pivots for the throw to first as Tianna Castillo of East Union is bearing down on her on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Ashton Hogue of Myrtle gets the force and pivots for the throw to first as Tianna Castillo of East Union is bearing down on her on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union runs at TCPS Invitiational

BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union got the 2014 cross country season started on an extremely hot day on an extremely tough course at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School on Saturday. This marked the first event many local girls’ teams ran the expanded distance of 5K.
East Union had a top five finisher, Sarah Duley, who ran the hilly course in 23:53.00 and placed fifth overall. Hannah Courtney was the next highest Lady Urchin with her 18th place finish in 25:40.00. Maggie Meinz finished 31st with her time of 28:10.00.
East Union finished sixth in the field of eight teams with a point total of 126. Pontotoc girls won the event with 42 points. There were 80 runners that competed in the girls 5K.
Hunter Nobles paced the East Union boys with his 15th place finish and time of 20:53. Zac Cisowski placed 27th with a time of 21:37.00 and Zach Rowan finished 30th with his time of 21:55.00.
East Union boys had a strong showing, finishing in fifth place out of 13 teams of all classes. The Urchins had 154 total points. Pontotoc was the champion in the boys race also. The boys race had a total of 120 runners competing.

Urchins grind out win in opener

Zane Wilkinson hauls in a touchdown pass from Lane Plunk in the second quarter. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Zane Wilkinson hauls in a touchdown pass from Lane Plunk in the second quarter. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
OKOLONA – East Union used their running game to grind out a 21-12 win over Houlka in their 2014 season opener on Thursday. East Union rushed for 200 yards and distributed the work between four runners including quarterback Lane Plunk.
“Defensively, I thought we looked pretty good, East Union coach Scott Duley said. “One touchdown scored at the end of the half was my fault, not our players fault. Offensively, we’ve got a lot of work to do, we did not execute well, we fumbled the ball, we had penalties.”
East Union jumped out to a quick lead and then had to rely on their defense to hold Houlka scoreless in the second half despite the fact that Houlka ran nearly twice as many plays as the Urchins did during the final two periods.
East Union got on the scoreboard in the first quarter with 1:52 left as Cage West scored from the three to put the Urchins up 6-0. Lane Plunk added the PAT and East Union led 7-0. The Urchins had a short field to work with and drove 35 yards in seven plays.
The Urchins scored again on their next possession, driving 40 yards in four plays. The touchdown came on a three yard pass from Plunk to Zane Wilkinson with 10:04 left in the second quarter. Plunk’s PAT made the score 14-0.
Houlka wasted little time in getting in the end zone as they took only three plays to march 49 yards. The touchdown was scored on a Tyreque Reed 39 yard run at 8:28 in the second quarter. The run attempt failed.
East Union failed to run out the clock before the half ended and Houlka took possession with two seconds left. Reed hit a wide open Frankie Young with a 32 yard strike to narrow the score to 14-12, but again East Union stuffed the run attempt for two and the teams went to half with that score.
East Union took possession first in the second half but gave it away on a fumble at the 50 yard line. The Urchin defense rose to the challenge and forced a punt after Houlka had moved the ball as far as the Urchin 37. The punt was blocked and East Union recovered to end the threat.
East Union would score the game’s final touchdown with 11:19 left in the game as West scored his second touchdown of the night, this time from eight yards out. Plunk connected on the PAT and the Urchins led by the final winning margin of 21-12.
Chase Hall led all rushers with 66 yards and Cage West had 61 yards and two touchdowns. Jamie McCullough added 45 yards, all in the first half.
Plunk was 4-9 passing for 50 yards and one touchdown. Wilkinson had the reception for the touchdown.
“It was amazing, my first quarterback start I’ve had,” East Union quarterback Lane Plunk said. “I got those butterflies on the way down here, but once I stepped on the field, it just went away. We had those mix-ups, but we just pushed through and kept going, we held them to zero in the second half.”
Duley mentioned the play of linebacker Jessie Keller as being key for the Urchins. East Union had several players that saw the field for the first time on Thursday.
“I was very proud of our defensive line, I thought they did a good job,” Duley said. “I was pleased with our defensive effort. We got tired and when your kids get tired, you’re just happy to get the W and move on.”