UC Little League softball wins state title

Douglas Fritz • Updated Jul 11, 2019 at 4:21 PM

No surprise here: Unicoi County has another young group of successful softball players.

The Unicoi County Little League All-Stars won the 8-10 year-old state tournament Wednesday in Erwin with a 6-0 win over Goodlettsville.

With the win, Unicoi earned a berth in the Southeast Regional.

It was an extra-inning game with Unicoi scoring six times in the top of the seventh inning as the visiting team in the championship game. Goodlettsville fell into the losers’ bracket with a 7-4 loss to Unicoi on Sunday, but bounced back for a 4-3 win Tuesday to force Wednesday’s if-necessary game.

In the seventh inning, Reagen Carroll started things with a leadoff double. Emma Hummer drove her in with an infield single, and Unicoi kept rolling from there.

The six runs made things easier for pitcher Kaley Toney, who finished off a complete-game shutout. She allowed just two hits and struck out 12 with no walks.

“She has been working hard with a pitching coach for about 1 1/2 years,” said assistant coach Aaron Toney, who is Kaley’s dad. “She’s doing really well. She loves it. She has a good changeup and hits her spots with her fastball.”

Kaley wears No. 17 in honor of her cousin, Ashlie Padgett, a former Unicoi County High School softball standout who died in a vehicle crash in 2016 at the age of 18.

“She is a cousin through marriage, and she felt a connection with Ashlie,” said Toney. “Ashlie coached Kaley in basketball for a few years. Every sport, she has to have No. 17 because of Ashlie.”

Unicoi will play in the Southeast Regional, which begins in Clarksville on July 20. State champions from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama will be in the tournament.

Toney said he thinks Unicoi will do well.

“These kids, they have a no-quit attitude,” he said. “I will be surprised if we don’t compete.”

Terry Higgins is the team’s manager. Daniel Engle is also an assistant coach.

“I think we have a special group,” said Toney. “We’re really deep at pitching. We’ve got four or five solid pitchers. And we hit the ball well.”

Here is the roster for the team:

#2 Carly Baxter

#3 Kianna Woodward

#7 Aaliyah Engle

#9 Annabelle Eanes

#11 Kyndal Engle

#12 Kinley Carver

#13 Emma Hummer

#17 Kaley Toney

#18 Reagan Carroll

#22 Chloe Conner

#88 Noly Cooper

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