Katelyne Loudy broke open the game with a second-inning grand slam, the first of her two homers, and the Lady Patriots crushed their longtime nemesis. They finally solved Unicoi County with a shocking 13-1 win on East’s home field in the winners’ bracket final of the District 1-AA softball tournament.
“This was probably the game of my life,” Loudy said. “It was a big world-breaker right here. This was the biggest game of Sullivan East history. This sets the line for us. I think this is the year for us to go to state.”
East (26-13) not only advanced to the championship round on Wednesday, it also earned its first-ever berth in the Region 1-AA tournament, which begins next week.
“Since we’ve been in double A, we’ve never been to the region and we’ve never beaten Unicoi County,” said East coach Michael Forrester. “I think it’s the best softball game Sullivan East has probably ever played. I can’t describe what it means to our program.”
The Lady Blue Devils (32-9) play in the losers’ bracket final Tuesday at 7 p.m.
LOUDY IN GRAND FASHION
East’s duo of Chelsea Sams (20) and Kylee Wolfe (17) have combined for 37 homers this season, but Loudy’s bat was the loudest one in this game.
“When I first got in the box, I was like, ‘God, please give me this, I’ve got to help out the team and I’m really wanting this game,’ ” she said. “I was really focused on getting a base hit. I wasn’t expecting to try to hit a grand slam.”
Her blast went over the left field fence. She finished 2-for-5 with five runs batted in.
“Katelyne has been a superstar in the district tournament for three years,” Forrester said. “She has been an amazing player, and that didn’t change tonight. That was crazy.”
ANOTHER BIG HIT
After Loudy’s slam, Cayden Bawgus delivered a two-out two-run double to push East’s advantage to 6-0.
Sams was 3-for-4 with a homer, three runs and three RBIs, and Wolfe finished 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Bawgus, Jillian Shackelford and Hannah Scott each added two hits, part of East’s 15 as a team.
IN THE CIRCLE
Another big factor in the game was the performance of Scott, East’s freshman starting pitcher. She kept the Lady Blue Devils off balance and pitched a complete game.
“That was crazy,” Forrester said. “We thought we had something there. I was hoping to get her through three or four innings. She was unbelievable.”
Scott allowed just five hits and one run, which was unearned. She walked four and struck out five.
“That makes me look dumb,” her coach said, laughing. “It’s only the third time she’s pitched all year.”
Halie Hawkins had two hits to lead Unicoi County.
Maggie Johnson had three hits, three RBIs and four runs scored in the Lady Cyclones’ 18-4 rout of Sullivan Central.
Kira Dillard, Madisun Pritchard and Marley Wagner drove in three runs and scored twice each.
Pritchard picked up the win with Maddie O’Quinn hurling the final 1 2/3 innings.
Alexa Chandler went 2-for-2 to lead Central.