GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — An error with the bases loaded opened the door for a big fifth inning to turn into an insurmountable one. West Green scored 13 runs in the frame to turn a four-run deficit into a 14-5 win over Cumberland Gap in an elimination game at the District 2-AA Tournament on Friday.
“One play led to eleven runs. We could have been out of the inning, but that’s been the story of our season. In our losses an even in our wins,” Lady Panther coach J.W. Campbell said. “
Emily Cheek, who pitched all seven innings to get the win, capped the big fifth inning with a three-run homer. Cheek allowed five runs on ten hits while striking out five and walking five.
Jada Hensley also drove in three runs with a pair of doubles and a single while Kaylee Valentine had three hits and scored three runs to lead the Lady Buffaloes.
Senior Genna Lake led the Lady Panthers with two doubles and a single for two runs batted in.
Julia Satterfield doubled and walked three times as she drove in one run and scored twice. Samantha Pierce had two hits, an RBI and a run scored; Makenzie Miracle and Chelsey Williams both doubled while senior shortstop Katelyn McCarty and Jourdan Thacker both had singles for Cumberland Gap.
“Katelyn, I’ll have to look to see if she still is but she was leading us in hitting late in the year,” Campbell said. “She’s a big offensive threat for us, had a little off year defensively but she’ll definitely be missed.”
Miracle led off the game with a double and McCarty walked but Cheek came back with a strikeout and the Lady Buffs turned a 5-3 double-play to end the inning.
West Greene got on the board in the bottom of the inning as Valentine singled and took second on a ground out by Kristen Johnson. Hensley followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0.
The Lady Panthers put up four runs in the second to surge into the lead.
Thacker led off with a single and advanced to third on a passed ball and a stole base. Satterfield brought home with double to center and then scored as Lake doubled to right-center to put Cumberland Gap up 2-1. Samantha Pierce added an RBI single and Williams an RBI double down the left field line as the lead grew to 4-1. One out later McCarty singled but got doubled off at first after Tessa Pittman lined out to short to end the inning.
In the third Satterfield drew a two-out walk and came all the way around to score on Lake’s double to deep left and the score remained 5-1 until the bottom of the fifth.
With one out Valentine singled and Johnson walked ahead of Hensley’s RBI double. Cheek walked to load the bases and Jarrell hit a fielder’s choice grounder to short but two runs scored on an error on the play to make it 5-4. Allison Tweed singled in the tying run and, after a walk, Ashton Piece single to bring in two more runs to give West Greene a 6-5 lead.
Valentine hit into a 5-2 fielder’s choice for the second out, but back-to-back bases-loaded walks force in two more runs. Hensley ripped a two-run double and Cheek’s homer made it 14-5.
Cheek settled down after the third inning and retired the side in order in the fourth. She pitched around an error and a walk in the fifth and left Pierce and Miracle stranded at second and third in the sixth. In the seventh, Satterfield walked and Lake singled with two out but the Cheek again closed out the inning and the game with no more runs coming home.
Lake went the distance in the loss for the Lady Panthers. She allowed seven earned runs on eleven hits while striking out three and walking seven.
“Genna had never really been a pitcher and she came in this year did a heck of a job. She got 14 wins for us which was just super for her,” Campbell said. “We’re going to miss both of our seniors, somebody will have to step up and take their place next year.”
The loss ends Cumberland Gap’s season with record of 14-9.
“I think I said earlier that 20 wins was our goal. Looking back that was a high goal. If we could have gotten maybe three or four more wins then I think this would have been a very successful season,” Campbell said. “I think we underachieved a little bit this year, but we have come leaps and bounds from where we were. We’ve still got a long ways to go and it’s not going to be easy.”
The future looks to be brighter, though the Lady Panthers have some very good teams to deal with in the district. Eight of the ten girls who started most games will be back and there are some pitching reinforcements on the way.
“We’ve got some good young pitchers coming in next year that will help us and we’ve all of our players returning but two. We’ll see what the season looks like,” Campbell added.
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|Genna Lake and Tessa Pittman; Emily Cheek and Baylee Jarrell. W — Cheek. L — Lake. HR — WG: Cheek.|