Lady Urchins defeat playoff powerhouse East Webster in three

Callie Frazier limited East Webster to six runs in 12 innings of work on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

ELLISTOWN – Year after year, the East Webster Lady Wolverines have had East Union’s number in softball playoffs. The Lady Urchins would inch closer and closer to the perennial softball powerhouse, but just couldn’t quite pull off the series win until Monday and Tuesday as the Lady Urchins won the 2A softball series 2-1.
East Union won Monday’s game one in a late-inning comeback, 7-5. In game two on Tuesday, the Lady Urchins fell 3-1 on a seventh inning comeback by East Webster to force a deciding game three immediately following.
The Lady Urchins blew game three open with a six-run second inning and went on to run-rule the Lady Wolverines 13-3 in five innings.
“Callie Frazier threw 12 innings, never asked for a break, did not walk a person, did not hit anyone” East Union head coach Josh Blythe said. “She held a pretty dead gum good offensive ball club to six runs in over 12 innings. Everybody knows East Webster and knows what Coach Berryhill has done with this program is the pinnacle, he’s a fantastic man. Just to come out here and compete against him is awesome, I wish there were more guys like him in the profession.”
Frazier also had a huge game three at the plate, collecting three hits and driving in four runs, including the walk-off two RBI double that drove in Kaitie Boatner and Raelee Bell to end the contest in five innings.
The second inning was the key to the Lady Urchins win as 11 batters went to the plate, pounding out five hits, plus utilizing two walks a hit batter to score six runs. Those players collecting RBIs were Emily Coggin with two, Rebecca Sheffield, Frazier, Boatner and Bell which gave East Union a big 7-1 advantage.
“I’ve got to give a shoutout to Mr. Jimmy Wigginton,” Blythe said. “He came to me and said Coach I think we need to choke up on the bats and I told him that I’m fixing to tell them (team). Mr. Wig was right so I want to give him credit so that he can hang that up in his room because he did it.”
This all came after Frazier had put East Union on the scoreboard in the first with her RBI driving in Bell to tie the game at 1-1.
East Union scored again in the fourth as Frazier walked and Jessie Roberts came on to pinch run and later score. Sallie Pannell followed Frazier with a single and was driven in by Sheffield.
East Union entered the bottom of the fifth with a 9-3 lead, needing four runs to end the contest by run-rule. Bell delivered a two-RBI single to put the Lady Urchins up 11-3 and Frazier followed two batters later with the walk-off two RBI double.
“How about our crowd and our community coming together?” Blythe said. “They are just itching for something to cheer about and how about our kids? We led the whole game in the earlier game and just didn’t get it done. We could have laid over after they scored and went up 1-0 (game three), but boom we came back and answered to tie it at 1-1, then put up a six-spot and got some breathing room.”
East Webster 3, East Union 1 (game two)
East Webster scored three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh to sneak by the Lady Urchins for the win in game two of the 2A series. The Lady Wolverines had three consecutive RBI by Jennah Pate, Jessica Davis and Emily Nason during the frame.
The Lady Urchins had a runner in scoring position in the seventh as Pannell led off with a double, East Webster was able to retire the next three batters to preserve the win.
East Union’s only run came in the fourth as Bell singled, stole second and scored on an error in the outfield on a ball hit by Frazier.
East Union 7, East Webster 5 (game one)
East Union had never beaten East Webster at the Lady Wolverines home venue, but the Lady Urchins came from behind to take the 7-5 game one win.
East Union took their first lead and held it, in the sixth inning as Colby Stafford led off with a double. Jessie Roberts came in to pinch run and moved to third as Hannah White reached on an error.
Kallie Roberts drove in Jessie with her fielders choice RBI groundout to tie the game at 5-5. White later scored on a wild pitch to put the Lady Urchins up a run at 6-5.
East Webster threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Jessica Aron singled, but Rebecca Sheffield caught the hard liner to second and doubled up the runner at first to end the inning.
East Union added an insurance run in the seventh as Emily Coggin singled and was followed by Callie Frazier’s single. Sallie Pannell drove in Coggin with her RBI single to give East Union the 7-5 lead.

Eagles float past Urchins in game one

Jacob Raines rounds third and heads for home after his leadoff homer in the fourth inning. Photos by Dennis Clayton.

ELLISTOWN – Eupora overcame cold, soggy weather conditions to take game one of the 2A series with East Union of Thursday. Eupora used a three-run fifth to overcome a 3-1 Urchin lead to win 4-3.
Eupora used two hits, two walks and an error to gain the advantage after the Urchins had led the contest through the first four innings of play.
Joel Wilkinson gave East Union the early lead, drawing a walk then stealing second. Wilkinson came home on an error at short off the bat of Ty McDonald to give the Urchins the 1-0 lead after an inning.
The Urchins added a run in the second as Ethan Hitt walked and later scored on Zane Wilkinson’s double to extend the Urchin lead to 2-0 after two.

Ethan Hitt rounds third and later scores on Zane Wilkinson’s RBI double.

Eupora scored a run in the third inning off a bases-loaded walk to cut the East Union advantage to 2-1.
Jacob Raines drilled a leadoff home run over the fence in left to raise the Urchin lead back to two runs at 3-1.
Joel went the distance on the mound for the Urchins, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks while striking out eight.
Raines and Zane had the only extra-base hits and RBI for the Urchins with the home run and double.

Zane Wilkinson watches his double to left that would drive in Ethan Hits for the second East Union run against Eupora.

Miscues help Lady Hawks to win over Pine Grove

Sarah Kate Thompson ends the Pine Grove sixth with her catch on the fly ball to center. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

MYRTLE – The Myrtle Lady Hawks went to the bottom of the seventh in their Division 2-1A softball game against Pine Grove trailing 4-1 and needing help to pull out a win. The Lady Hawks got the help they needed from the visiting Lady Panthers and slipped past Pine Grove 5-4.
“What you just saw was the definition of winning ugly,” Myrtle head coach Marty Cook said. “We did not hit it well at all and credit the pitcher, she kept us off balance. I’m not going to take anything away from her, she pitched a heck of a ball game.”
Pine Grove’s defense aided the Lady Hawks with five errors during the final at-bat as Myrtle sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs to pull out the win
“We just kept plugging, kept hitting and never gave up on plays,” Cook said. “They bobbled a few here and bobbled a few there, I don’t know if there was a clean base hit that entire inning. I told the girls that if you keep plugging away, good things will happen.”
Cook was correct in his assessment of the final inning, there was not a clean base hit during the frame for the Lady Hawks, but the five errors, a base on balls and an intentional walk paved the way to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat for Myrtle.
Breanna Smith led off the Myrtle seventh and reached on an error. Ally Smith followed and also reach on an error. A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third with no outs.
Megan Lowery walked to load the bases and Karlie Bolden reached on an error to score Breanna to pull the Lady Hawks to within two runs.
Kinsley Gordon hit into a fielders choice, forcing Bolden at second, but driving in Ally to score and close the Pine Grove lead to one.
An intentional walk was issued to Heather Smith to load the bases after Gordon stole second which put the force on at any base. Sara McDonald hit a grounder to third that was misplayed, allowing Lowery to score and tie the game at 4-4.
Kristen Young delivered the fly ball to right which was dropped by the outfielder, allowing Gordon to score the winning run.
“We didn’t give up, we could have given up, putting all those zeros up there (on scoreboard) and getting frustrated,” Cook said. “We 10-run ruled them last time, beat them 10-0, but they’re a good team and I knew it wasn’t going to be that way this time. We made some defensive plays today. When your bats aren’t working, then your defense has got to step up. We rolled a double play to get out of the first and Breanna in right field threw out a girl out trying to go to second (during seventh inning) which were big plays.
The Lady Hawks score their earlier run in the fifth inning as Sarah Kate Thompson reached on an error and later scored on Lowery’s RBI groundout.
Pine Grove score one run in the first and added their final three runs in the fifth.
Myrtle improves to 13-7 overall and the Lady Hawks are perfect in division at 6-0.

Graduation 2016 marks end of era

My graduation speech to my seniors of 2016
Graduation is upon us again even though it seems like only yesterday that we were just getting the 2015-16 school year started. With this graduation comes the realization that some of my kids that I have followed since junior high will no longer roam the courts and fields of prep sports and that makes me a bit sad.
You see, I got back into the high school sports scene full-time back during the 2010-11 season with newly added responsibilities of covering area prep sports for the News Exchange and this senior class were essentially babes for lack of a better term. They’re my first team to graduate I guess you might say.
I have had the honor and joy of getting to know these athletes, their parents, siblings and even grandparents and I am truly blessed beyond measure on all accounts. However, that makes it harder to let go and watch these young men and women move on to the next step in life.
Some will continue on to play sports at the next level, but most will just say goodbye to coaches and teammates who will forever hold a special place in their hearts and minds.
They will remember all the fun times on the team bus trips, the camaraderie that only can be experienced with others who have the same goals and desires for success of team and love of school, the game and each other.
There will be games and plays that will be forever etched in their minds from their “glory days” that they will reflect upon in the days to come.
I too will remember these athletes, things they said, things they did. I will remember some pretty amazing feats they accomplished on the field of play, some of the games they won and how they won them.
Most of all though, I will just remember each and every person and what a great guy or girl they were on and off the field. I will remember a kind act or a word of encouragement that I experienced or saw someone else experience.
I trust that sports has taught all my “kids” about life because some days you win and some days you lose, but you must never give up, you just keep grinding. You must get up, knock the dust off and go again and again.
And yes, these are my kids because many years ago my family passed through these same situations and circumstances with high school sports and sadly, we one day had to bid all our sports farewell.
Maybe I’m reliving my past through someone else’s child or maybe your child, but one of my main objectives in covering sports is getting to know the players and their families just to let them know that I genuinely care about them, their team, their school and their family.
So it’s a little bittersweet as I watch my former babies walk the aisle to become the graduates of 2016 since I will never again have the opportunity to share the sideline or dugout with them, but I know that they are ready to face tomorrow because they have proven themselves time and again in the face of adversity and opportunity with a winning attitude.
To my Seniors of 2016 I ask you to remember the words of Chuck Swindoll “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Thanks for your friendship, thanks for your allowing me to follow your exploits on the field of play, but most of all thanks for allowing me to be a small part of your busy life. May God richly bless you all.

High flying Eagles down Blue Mountain

Andrew Childers scored 16 points in the second half for the Eagles on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Andrew Childers scored 16 points in the second half for the Eagles on Tuesday. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

HICKORY FLAT – West Union staged a major second half comeback and won their opening round game in the Division 2-1A Tournament against Blue Mountain 60-52. The Eagles got 16 points from Andrew Childers to help rally the Eagles from a five point deficit at the half.
The fourth quarter saw seven lead changes and West Union took the lead for good at 53-52 with about three minutes remaining.
Childers, Dillon Clayton and Adam Grubbs scored critical points, most of them coming from the free throw line for the Eagles in the closing minute to seal the win.
Hayden Basil and Bobby High provided the offense during the first half as they combined for 15 of the Eagles 23 points.
Basil led the Eagles with his 20 points. Childers had 18 and High finished with 11 points.
West Union advances to face the number one seed, Ashland on Thursday night at 7:45.
Hayden Basil had a big night for the Eagles with his 20 points.

Hayden Basil had a big night for the Eagles with his 20 points.

Lady Hawks rout Falkner in division tournament opener

Amber Cook connects on the three for the Lady Hawks in the first half. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Amber Cook connects on the three for the Lady Hawks in the first half. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

HICKORY FLAT – The Lady Hawks of Myrtle blew open their game with Falkner with a 17-0 run during the first 4:05 of the second period and went on to win big in the Division 2-1A Tournament opener by a score of 74 to 48.
Faulkner tried to close the huge gap after the Lady Hawks went up 35-11, but could get no closer than 15 points down at 39-24 in the third quarter before the Lady Hawks stretched the lead back to a comfortable 56-34 margin after three.
Ivory Montgomery had a game high 24 points to lead the Lady Hawks. Jessica Floyd hit for 18 and Geniesha Montgomery scored 16 points.
Myrtle advances to play number two seed Ashland on Thursday at 4:00.
Ivory Montgomery scores on the layup for Myrtle as teammate Jessica Floyd trails the play.

Ivory Montgomery scores on the layup for Myrtle as teammate Jessica Floyd trails the play.

Hawks fly past Eagles in hoops

DSC_0728Jonathan Scales gathers in the pass in the low post against Andrew Childers. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

MYRTLE – Myrtle jumped out to a 10-0 and cruised home with s 73-55 win over West Union on Thursday.

Myrtle was able to hold the Eagles scoreless until 5:52 and finished the quarter up 24-11. The Hawks maintained their 13-point advantage at the half as they led 37-24.

Jonathan Scales had a big night for the Hawks as he led all scorers and had some key baskets when the Hawks needed them.

Scales finished the game with 15 points, Chris Hill had 14, Tanner Cox scored 13 and Lavon Kiddy chipped in 10 points to lead the Myrtle offense.

Myles Steen hit for 11 points for the Eagles while Hayden Basil and Riley Bogue scored 10 apiece.