ERWIN -- After starting at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to play through seven games in crowning the 13th annual Nuclear Fuel Services tournament champion, Mother Nature decided she would throw a screw ball into the final outcome.
A nuisance rain began falling during the semifinal round before the heavens opened in the third inning of the final game to bring an abrupt close to the championship game between the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones and the host Unicoi County Lady Blue Devils.
Going into the championship game, the Lady Cyclones knew the odds were stacked heavily against them as Unicoi County had blistered the competition in tallying 69 runs in five games while holding the opposition to a goose egg -- zero total runs.
Elizabethton came out and showed no fear in the first inning of the game as they scored the first run of the tournament against the Lady Blue Devils.
Kelsey Simmons laid down a perfect slap bunt for a single. A sacrifice bunt by Kristen Powell pushed Simmons to second.
Simmons made her way to third on an uncharacteristic error by the Lady Devil catcher and another error on the Unicoi County catcher allowed Simmons to slide under the tag for the score.
The Lady Cyclones appeared to be back in business after Erin Kiser walked and Reazyn DeMoss blasted a double to the fence to put runners at second and third.
Senior hurler Kara Woods settled and struck out Caley Hodge looking and Logan White on a swinging strike three to strand both Elizabethton runners.
Unicoi County showed why they are one of the top Class 1-AA teams in the state when they responded with eight runs in the bottom of the frame.
Whitney Webb reached on an error by the Lady Cyclone second baseman. Haley Tittle walked and Woods was pegged by a Lindsey Cunningham pitch.
Outfielder Chelsey Gardner then tore into a Cunningham offering to the fence for a two-RBI double. Shea Pearson lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored another Lady Blue Devil run.
Kelsey Peterson was hit by a pitch and an Ashley Starnes fielder's choice chased home another Unicoi County run.
Jessica Presser reached on a fielder's choice and Cheyenne Delffs made it safely to first on another error at second by Elizabethton.
Webb worked a walk and Tittle closed out the scoring with a double that accounted for two runs batted in. Cunningham managed to entice Woods to ground out to short to bring the inning to a close.
Woods was tough as Whit leather in the top of the second as she struck out the first two Lady Cyclones she faced and then retired Emily Dugger on a pop fly that was caught on a fantastic play by the Unicoi Co. catcher.
The Lady Blue Devils tacked on another run in the bottom of the second inning after Pearson reached on a fielder's choice and a single by Peterson sent Pearson to third base.
Presser's RBI single scored Pearson for the game's last run.
Elizabethton came to the plate with the rain intensifying in the top of the third.
The only thing that the Lady Cyclones could muster though was Kiser reaching on another uncharacteristic error by Woods, a pitcher that has helped the Lady Blue Devils to the state tournament in all three of her varsity years on the mound.
Woods responded by catching DeMoss looking for a strikeout and out number three.
When the top of the inning was ended, the umpires gathered with the coaches and decided to wait a few minutes to see if the rain would ease, but on this night the rain won out as the field became very soupy and dangerous for competition.
The winner of the tournament was decided by a tie breaker which was the least amount of runs scored. It was a no-brainer as the Lady Blue Devils final tournament totals were 78 runs scored to only one run allowed.
The Lady Cyclones had scored 49 runs in the tournament while allowing their opponents 42 runs.
Unicoi County received the tournament championship plaque while the Lady Cyclones settled for runner-up.
Elizabethton will be back in action today at 4:30 as they host the Hampton Lady Bulldogs and will travel to Happy Valley Tuesday for a 5 p.m. contest with the Lady Warriors.
Unicoi County will be hosting the Johnson County Longhorns on Tuesday at Lady Devil Diamond in a key early-season Three Rivers Conference tilt.