Morristown East paraded 14 batters to the plate and scored nine times in the bottom of the third inning to break open a close game and went on to a 12-0 victory over Cocke County Tuesday afternoon at King Park.
The Lady Hurricanes collected 11 hits including home runs by Blayne King and Randi Drinnon to back the two-hit pitching of Kylie Rader.
Rader gave up hits to the first two batters she faced and that was it for the Lady Red. She walked two and struck out six in notching the mound verdict over Kourtney Clevenger.
East upped its record to 5-2 with the win and improved to 3-2 in Inter Mountain Conference play. The visitors fell to 4-4 overall and are also 3-2 in conference action.
Veteran coach Robin Vannoy, who got out of coaching after last season, was honored in pregame ceremonies as East principal Joe Ely presented her a plaque for her years of service. Vannoy’s 632 combined wins from softball and volleyball make her the winningest coach in East history.
Lady ‘Canes coach Heather Martin commented, “I thought we did a good job tonight. We came out and scored early. We were both smart and aggressive at the plate.
“Our bats came alive and I was just proud of our effort,” she added.
Martin also said, “Kylie pitched well. She gets frustrated at herself sometimes but when you throw a two-hitter against a good team like that you’ve done a pretty good job. We also played good defense behind her.”
In talking about the big third inning, the coach said, “It was still a ball game when we had two seniors really step up and come through for us.”
She was referring to Sarah King, who had a three-run double, and Drinnon’s two-run homer that highlighted the uprising.
Cocke County’s Danny Hartsell said, “We made too many mistakes tonight. But we’re a very young team. I’ve said it all year because that’s what we are.
“We got off to a good start but popped up a bunt and they got a double play off of it,” he said. “Then we had another double play on a fly ball in the fourth.”
Hartsell said, “Now we have to find a way to fight back from that loss. We’ve got another tough game at Morristown West on Thursday.
“This may sound crazy because they just run-ruled us, but we can play with that team over there,” he closed. “We can play with anybody but not if we make mistakes like we did tonight.”
Rader got off to a shaky start as Kaitlin Bible put down a bunt that went for a hit leading off and then Sydney Clevenger rapped a single to left. However an attempted sacrifice bunt was popped up.
Catcher Drinnon made the catch and centerfielder Sarah King raced in to cover second to turn the double play.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Blayne King blasted a long home run to right-center and the Lady ‘Canes were on their way.
Rader had two strike outs in the second and the Lady ‘Canes’ added another run in the bottom. Brianna Maness had a base hit and scored on a single by Jessica Harris.
After Rader struck out the side in the third, East went to work at the plate. Blayne King reached on an error and Drinnon had a soft infield popup that nobody could get to.
Kennedy Payne walked to load the bases and Lindsey Winstead drew another free pass to force in a run. Both Maness and Keely Shisler had sac flies to score runs to make it 6-0.
Harris and Emma Pillion walked to load the bases again and Sarah King delivered a base-clearing double to right center field. Blayne King singled in Sarah and Drinnon followed with a home run into the street behind left field.
Cocke County threatened in the fourth when Rader walked the first two batters. However, she got out of it when the next batter popped up to Drinnon and the next hit a fly ball that Winstead ran down in left field and easily doubled the runner off second.
Maness singled and scored the final run on a sacrifice fly by Harris in the fourth.
Sarah King, Blayne King, Drinnon, Payne, Winstead and Maness all had two hits for the Lady Hurricanes.