By Matt Myers
JOHNSON CITY — A hard-fought softball season came to a close for the TAD Lady Jr. Cyclones Friday afternoon at Metro-Kiwanis Park.
A furious top of the seventh rally allowed the ladies from ’Betsy to close the gap to 7-5, but ultimately a tough, defensive-minded squad from Ross Robinson hung tough and kept the final score at 7-5. The win garnered the Lady Redskins a spot in the Middle 9 tournament championship.
TAD co-head coach Bonnie Peters was impressed with her young team’s ability to hang tough and almost pull out the victory. The near-miss was indicative of a trend that has been present for the Lady Jr. Cyclones throughout most of the year,
“You know we came up just short, but these girls have given this kind of tough effort all year,” said Peters after the game.
“We are a very young team, and we’ve had some crucial injuries in the last few weeks. Robinson just played great defense for the first five innings and we couldn’t fully get back on track with their scoring.
“All in all though, we are very excited about the effort our girls gave this year, as well as the youth that we have coming up through the ranks of our team. I feel like we have a bright future as a program.”
Robinson set about displaying its scoring prowess early as the first inning turned into a Carolina Blue offensive exhibition. Brooke Mohr was the star of the early slugfest as she drove a triple to right field from her five spot. With a full complement aboard, the strike resulted in a quick 3-0 lead for the Lady Redskins.
A 4-0 lead at the close of the opening frame allowed Robinson to capture most of the game’s momentum in one fatal swoop.
And then the defense began.
Lily Gray, Abbi Higgins and Tori Eaton embodied that defense for Robinson. The three outfielders ended scoring threat after scoring threat for the Jr. Cyclones throughout the game’s first six innings, a feat that would be the key to victory. Mohr also did her part from the mound for the ladies from Kingsport, imploring tough pitching that only aided her cohorts in the field.
The Lady Jr. Cyclones could find no answer for such strong, team-oriented defense. Robinson would back up its sound defense with offense as it produced runs in the bottom of the third inning as well as the bottom of the fourth inning. The result was a 7-0 lead heading into the Lady Jr. Cyclones’ last chance to rally in the top of the seventh.
At that point, TAD had seen enough. Singles from Rachel Robinson, Abbi McKinney and Emily Kiser loaded the diamond. Kiser’s RBI single broke the scoring drought, and midway through the inning the Lady Jr. Cyclones had cut the lead to 7-2.
Then it was Jessica Cunningham’s turn. A three-run double to right field was the result of her at-bat. That powerful shot cut the margin to 7-5 and suddenly ’Betsy was in business in a big way with only one out.
Sadly for the Cyclones, two at-bats later it was all over as Robinson was able to recover defensively and end TAD’s youthful and exciting season. This is not to say that the girls from ’Betsy have any reason to hang their heads. With a year that saw them never give in to their “young team” moniker, the orange and black squad can look confidently towards making ‘Betsy nation proud again next year.
T.A. Dugger 000 000 5 — 5
Robinson 402 100 0 — 7