Express, Cline-Holder win in STAR city tournament

By B.J. Guinn

   Dustin Carden pitched a complete game for Expert Express and scored two runs to help lead his team to a big win over Carter County Motors, 15-7, on Saturday in the Elizabethton STAR Little League Preseason City Tournament at T.J. Burleson Field.
   He had plenty of run support from his teammates, like Nic Pappantonio, who delivered a three-run homer in the second and finished the game 2-for-3 with four RBI.
   Express collected 12 hits on the day as Shane Heaton, Brent Thomas and Crystal Covington joined Pappantonio with two hits each.
   Cody Hyder led the Motors offense, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Brandon Birchfield, Nolan Childers, Chris Pierce, Adrian Hopson and Nick Berkley added one hit apiece.
   Carden allowed seven hits, three walks, and seven runs while collecting three strikeouts in six innings to record the win.
   The pitching duties for Motors were shared by starter Nolan Childers and relievers Brandon Birchfield and Adrian Hobson.
   Six Sigma Rallies to Take Cline Holder
Cline-Holder 10
Six Sigma 9

   Cline Holder and Six Sigma squared off in the first game of the City Tournament at T.J. Burleson Field Saturday with Cline Holder taking a commanding early lead only to see it erased by a Six Sigma rally in the third inning, eventually losing a heartbreaker.
   Cline Holder jumped on top early in the first as the first three batters reached base and scored. Greg Sams, Kendall Walsh and Thomas Roddy accounted for six of the team's nine runs, scoring two apiece.
   Cline-Holder pitcher Cody Marley was cruising through Six Sigma lineup with 6 Ks and only two walks in two innings pitched. At the end of two, Cline Holder led 8-0.
   But Six Sigma didn't back off, and its luck began to change in the bottom of the third when Matt Cannon started an eight-run rally with Eric Norman, William Wagner, Logan Loving, Wendall Loving, Korey Hardin, Brandon Woodby, and Richard Lovelace all crossing the plate before Cline Holder could stop the stampede.
   Once the third inning finally came to an end, so did the run production for both teams, as both defenses buckled down and kept the game tight. Both teams allowed one run in the fourth. Jonathan Nicholas singled and scored for Cline Holder and Lovelace walked and scored for Six Sigma.
   Then in the fifth, Cline-Holder made it interesting loading the bases twice only to see Six Sigma pitcher Hardin hold on to keep the game knotted at eight going into the bottom of the inning.
   Six Sigma responded by giving up two quick outs before Tori Mann reached on a walk followed by another walk by Jake Howell and a single by Cannon.
   With the bases loaded and the two-hour time limit looming, Norman worked a walk to plate Mann and give Six Sigma a hard fought win over a tough Cline-Holder team.

Friday's Game
Grindstaff 10
Burgie Drug 0

   The 2002 Little League season got underway Friday evening at T.J. Burleson Field as two National League teams played a single game to get into the City Tournament set to begin Saturday.
   Burgie and Grindstaff squared off to see who would get into the tournament and it turned out to be Grindstaff's night as the red and black came away with a 10-0 win.
   Grindstaff pitching held a young but eager Burgie team to only one hit on the night. Logan Bowling and Jerry Berkley combined on the mound to silence the Burgie bats.
   Bowling collected six strikeouts and only allowed one baserunner in three innings. Berkley notched five Ks, walked two, and gave up only hit.
   Ryan Thomas, Jordan Meredith and Zack Miller handled the pitching for Burgie, allowing only four hits, but the defense couldn't slow down the Grindstaff baserunners as they tore up the base paths.
   Jordan Meredith collected the solo hit for Burgie when he led off the fourth by ripping a double to the gap in left centerfield, but was caught trying to steal third on a heads-up play by pitcher Berkley.
   The Grindstaff offense was led by Cody Mullins and Logan Bowling with two runs scored each, followed by Brooks Cochran, Brent Powell, Ethan Fleenor, Devin Wagner, C.J. Bowling and Drew Clark with one trip across the plate apiece.
   I guess I get lucky a lot. I like to be up in those situations."