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East, Unicoi battling for Three Rivers softball supremacy

Douglas Fritz • Mar 16, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Sullivan East is back in the mix at the top of the Three Rivers Conference in softball, but Unicoi County is staying right in step.

Here is a look at this year’s teams.

THREE RIVERS PREDICTIONS

1. Sullivan East

2. Unicoi County

3. Elizabethton

4. Sullivan South

5. Johnson County

5. Happy Valley

6. Sullivan Central

SULLIVAN EAST

The Lady Patriots are off to a 2-1 start.

Top hitters: Jillian Shackelford (p, of, Jr.), Cayden Bawgus (c, 3b, Jr.), Emma Timbs (2b, 1b, Jr), Kinzie Brown (ss, 3b, Jr.)

Top pitchers: Hannah Scott (So.), Shackelford, Lexie McDuffie (So.)

Top defensive players: Morgan Bringman (cf, Sr.), Autumn Moore, (lf, Sr.) Cassie Littleford (c, So.)

Coach Michael Forrester: “We have a noticeable confidence that we’ve been striving to get for a long time. If we play good defense and make teams earn their runs against us, we should have a great season.”

ELIZABETHTON

The Lady Cyclones split a pair of games to start the year.

Top hitters: Maggie Johnson (cf, Sr.), Kaylen Shell (ss, lf, Sr.)

Top pitchers: Madisun Pritchard (So.), Maddie O’Quinn (So.)

Top defensive players: Pritchard, O’Quinn

Coach Ken Hardin: “We have to play hard every night. In early games, we’ve had as many as six sophomores or freshmen on the field at one time. We will make some young mistakes. We will need leadership from the four seniors: Johnson, Shell, Marley Wagner and Emmagrace Wilson.”

UNICOI COUNTY

The Lady Blue Devils are 1-1 on the season.

Top hitters: Samantha Chavez (2b, Jr.), Caroline Podvin (3b, Jr.), Bella Bogart (c, Sr.)

Top pitchers: Abbie Grindstaff (Sr.), Hannah Shelton (So.)

Top defensive player: Betsabe Chavez (ss, So.)

Coach Grady Lingerfelt: “We have to throw strikes. That’s what beat us against East. I think the elements are there to have a good team. We have a good defensive player at every position. We hit it up and down the lineup, not great, but they can be.”

SULLIVAN SOUTH

The Lady Rebels are 1-2 on the season.

Top hitters: Allison Chapman (3b, Sr.), McKenzie Wallen (c, Jr.), Makkenzie Compton (cf, Sr.)

Top pitchers: Nicole Troutman (Sr.), Tara Shivley (Sr.)

Top defensive player: Mackenzie Compton (of, Sr.)

Coach Chris Sturgill: “Troutman tore her ACL in the last week of basketball but is rehabbing and trying to play before having surgery at the end of the season. She is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached. I have a veteran team this year with six seniors. We will need their leadership and experience. The momentum we created last season needs to carry over, but we can’t be satisfied with last year. We need to work and improve every single day we step out on that field. If the girls buy in, the sky is the limit.”

JOHNSON COUNTY

Starting the year on the right foot, Johnson County is 2-0.

Top hitters: Hannah Brooks (3b, p Sr.), Natalie Winters, (1b, Sr.), Maddi Edington (ss, Jr.)

Top pitchers: Brooks, Hannah Fritts (Fr.), Autumn Lewis (Fr.)

Top defensive players: Abigail Cornett (cf, Sr.), Emmy Miller (c, Jr.)

Coach Greg Reece: “We need to stay healthy, have the upperclassmen play to their ability and hope the younger ones grow up quick. The attitude is changing and the players expect to compete, but we can’t afford ‘off days.’ ”

HAPPY VALLEY

The Lady Warriors picked up one win in their first three games.

Top hitters: Cierra Southerland (1b, Jr.), Olivia Absher (ss, Jr.), Abby Holt (p, ss, Jr.), Maddie Lingerfelt (c, So.)

Top pitchers: Holt, Absher

Coach Cody Hyder: “We just need to play smart.”

SULLIVAN CENTRAL

The Lady Cougars have won one of their first three games.

Top hitters: Sydney Snapp (p, 2b, 1b, Sr.), Jasmine Sheffield (ss, Jr.), Courtney Willis (1b, cf, Sr.)

Top pitchers: Snapp, Willis

Top defensive player: Sheffield

Coach Andrea Werner: “We need to play as a team. The girls need to do their individual jobs and have confidence in themselves.”

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