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Lady Devils go back-to-back

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Harriman softball wins second straight district title

By Jason Perry

By Jason Perry

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jperry@roanecounty.com

The Coalfield Lady Jackets beat the Harriman Lady Devils, 7-3, in the first game between the teams Friday night in Coalfield, but the Lady Devils wouldn’t be denied as they rebounded to win the second game, 16-11, along with their second consecutive 1A District 3 Title.

Harriman had dominated the district in the regular season, going unbeaten.

In addition, the Lady Devils showed their dominance when it came to Coalfield in their previous meetings, beating the Lady Jackets in every meeting of the year previously.

In sports, nothing is definite, though. The old saying goes, “that is why you play the game.”

“We knew Coalfield was going to play hard tonight,” Lady Devils Coach Chasity Lowery said. “We knew they were going to hit the ball well and they went down fighting.

“But my girls really wanted to take care of business.”

“Getting that first loss was a hurdle we needed to overcome, but I couldn’t have ask my girls to play any better and I’m definitely proud of them.”

Harriman’s high-powered offense didn’t take long to get the motor going.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Harlea Shillings hit a single to keep the Lady Devils alive in the frame.

Left-handed power hitter Micaela Goins followed.

Goins didn’t have to wait long for a good pitch, lauching the ball high into the air for a two-run home run to make the score 2-0 and tie the Lady Devils’ season record at 13.

An inning later, Lady Devil catcher Nataya Moore reached base safely thanks to a fielding error.

Olivia Goins laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Moore into scoring position.

By the time Coalfield was able to get a handle on things defensively, Olivia Goins was out at first, but Moore was safely on third base.

Showing her willingness to take one for the team, Ananda Bertram gave Harriman another base runner when she was hit by a pitch, one of many for the tournament.

“Bertram was tough in the box,” Lowery said.

Aleena Goldston next hit a ground ball to second. Bertram was tagged out, but Goldston was able to reach first safely and score Moore to put the score at 3-0.

After this frame, the Lady Jackets showed they weren’t going to go away quietly.

Coalfield pitcher Anna Smith and her defense toughened up and kept the Lady Devils from crossing the plate again.

Smith also took matters into her own hands as well, hitting two home runs to help her cause in the game.

Coalfield was able to tie the game at three in the top of the sixth and an inning later, it took the lead and the game thanks to four runs in the seventh.

The Lady Jacket win forced a second game to decide the district championship and due to the weather forecast, it was played following the first contest rather than Saturday as originally scheduled.

Eager to get back on track, Harriman didn’t waste any time in setting the tone of the night-cap.

“We had some outstanding defensive plays from Shillings, it was possibly the best defensive game I think I’ve ever seen her play,” Lowery said.

Lady Devil ace pitcher Autumn Phillips continued where she had left off in the previous game.

Thanks to her pitching and defense making plays, Coalfield’s batters were quickly sent back to the bench in order.

The bottom of the first saw Goldston double for Harriman’s first hit of the contest.

A single from Shillings was enough to score the speedy Goldston to make the score 1-0.

The Lady Jackets were able to answer with three runs in the top of the second to take the lead, 3-1.

The Lady Devils wasn’t impressed .

In the next half inning, Breanna Hickey led off by drawing a walk.

Moore laid down what would have been a sacrifice bunt to advance Hickey.

Instead a wild turn of events saw Coalfield make an error that allowed the Harriman catcher to reach second base safely while scoring Hickey.

A quick score by the Lady Jackets in the next frame put the score at 4-2.

Harriman’s bats erupted in the bottom of the third for 11 runs.

Micaela Goins was walked to start the third, but a fielder’s choice by Philips resulted in Goins getting out and Phillips on base.

Lily Taylor was hit by a pitch for the second runner.

Hickey followed with a double to deep centerfield and Phillips raced home.

Moore scored Taylor on a ground out to knot the score at four with two outs.

The Lady Devils kept going though.

Olivia Goins scored Hickey.

Bertram was hit by a pitch, but had to come out as a safety precaution.

Briley Freels came in to the game at that point.

Olivia Goins scored after Goldston reached on an error and the score was 6-4, Harriman was pulling away.

A series of walks and hits continued to propel the Lady Devils.

During the stretch Freels, Goldston, Shillings, Goins, Phillips and Taylor all crossed the plate for Harriman.

By the time the dust had settled on the offensive onslaught, the Lady Devils were comfortably in the lead, 13-4.

Although the Lady Jackets were able to scratch across a run here and there, Harriman continued to add to the total.

Micaela Goins hit a solo homer over the fence in left field to make the score 14-5.

The home run was number 14 on the season for Goins, breaking the previous Harriman softball season record.

“Micaela had a phenomenol game,” Lowery said.

After Coalfield added some runs to their total, Harriman answered with some insurance scores of its own in the bottom of the sixth.

A double by Goldston and a single from Shillings got things going.

The hit from Shillings was enough to score Goldston to make the score 15-9.

Micaela Goins came next with a double deep into centerfield to score Shillings to put things at 16-9.

The Lady Jackets attempted to rally in the seventh, scoring two runs with two outs, but Olivia Goins caught a hard hit line drive in left field to end the game.

“It took all 11 of the team to win tonight,” Lowery said. “It was definitely a team effort.”