Following her home run against Sullivan South in the NFS Tournament on Friday, April 5, Ashtan Vance is greeted by her Lady Devil teammates at home plate. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

From Staff Reports

Three Rivers Conference victories last week over Elizabethton and Johnson County kept the Unicoi County High School softball team at the top of the league standings.

First, the Lady Devils (20-4, 6-0) defeated Elizabethton on Tuesday, April 2, at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin. The Lady Devils held on for a 9-6 victory after the Lady Cyclones rallied for 5 runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Allee Griffith had 5 strikeouts in the circle for the Lady Devils. Carly Kinsler led the way at the plate for UCHS with 3 hits, including a homerun, and 3 RBIs. Halie Hawkins (1 RBI), Cassie Selvage (1 RBI) and Samantha Chavez each had 2 hits for the Lady Devils. Chloe Powers, Griffith (1 RBI). Betsabe Chavez (2 RBIs) and Bella Bogart each had 1 hit.

On Thursday, April 4, the Lady Devils bested Johnson County 8-2 on the road in Mountain City.

UCHS held a 2-0 lead after three innings before a 3-run fourth inning gave the team a comfortable lead. Two runs in the top of the seventh inning sealed the victory for the Lady Devils.

Griffith threw 5 innings and had 7 strikeouts in the win. Abbie Grindstaff threw 2 innings and had 1 strikeout.

Samantha Chavez and Bogart each had 3 hits in the win. Hawkins, (2 RBIs), Selvage (1 RBI), Kinsler (1 RBI) and Ashtan Vance (2 RBIs) each had 2 hits. Griffith and Betsabe Chavez each had 1 hit.

Current Three Rivers Conference standings are as follows: Unicoi County in first place at 6-0; Sullivan East in second place at 5-1; Sullivan South in third place at 3-2; Elizabethton in fourth place at 2-2; Johnson County and Sullivan Central tied for fifth place at 1-4; and Happy Valley in last place at 0-5.

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The Lady Devils ended the week playing in the annual NFS Tournament on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at Lady Devil Diamond.

UCHS cruised through pool play Friday evening with a 12-5 over Sullivan South and a 5-2 victory over Johnson County.

Griffith had 4 strikeouts in the win over South as her team’s bats came alive against the opposing pitchers. The Lady Devils had 4 home runs – one each by Powers, who hit a grand slam, Vance, Hawkins and Kinsler – in the victory.

Abbie Grindstaff earned the win in the circle for the Lady Devils against Johnson County, throwing 3 strikeouts in the game.

Griffith had 3 hits and an RBI in the Johnson County win. Samantha Chavez had a home run and 2 RBIs. Powers had 1 hit and 1 RBI. Hawkins had 1 hit.

The Lady Devils defeated Chuckey-Doak, 12-3, in their final pool play game on Saturday morning. UCHS scored 10 runs in the home half of the first inning, then cruised to victory.

Grindstaff (4 strikeouts) and Hannah Shelton (3 strikeouts) teamed up in the circle for the victory.

Bogart had 2 hits and 2 RBIs in the win. Betsabe Chavez (1 RBI), Powers (1 RBI), Griffith (2 RBIs), Caroline Podvin, Samantha Chavez, Kinsler (1 RBI), Rachel Hatcher (1 RBI) and Kaylia Street (1 RBI) each had 1 hit. Vance and Kaylee Lamb each had an RBI.

The Lady Devils opened the bracket portion of the NFS Tournament against Grainger, a potential postseason opponent, on Saturday afternoon.

After Grainger took a 2-0 in the at-bat, the Lady Devils responded with 5 runs in the bottom of the first inning. Grainger then added 2 runs in the second inning, 3 in the third and 1 in the fourth to hold an 8-5 lead.

Hawkins opened the bottom half of the fourth inning with a single for the Lady Devils. She then stole second and moved to third base on a wild pitch. She later scored on a double by Powers to centerfield for an 8-6 score.

Powers then scored on a double by Griffith for an 8-7 score. Street was brought in to run for Griffith. A home run by Samantha Chavez drove in Street and gave UCHS the 9-8 victory, which sent the Lady Devils to the championship game against Science Hill.

Powers was the winning pitcher for UCHS. Hawkins and Powers (1 RBI) each had 2 hits in the victory. Selvage, Griffith (1 RBI), Chavez (2 RBIs) and Vance each had 1 hit.

In the championship game, the Lady Devils managed only 3 hits – one each by Selvage, Powers and Samantha Chavez – against Science Hill. The Lady Hilltoppers had 12 hits en route to their 9-0 victory over UCHS.

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The Lady Devils hosted Sullivan Central on Tuesday, April 9, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

They are scheduled to travel to Happy Valley on Thursday, April 11, for a game at 5:30 p.m.

They will host David Crockett on Monday, April 15, and Sullivan South on Tuesday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m.