Twins overcome Express to capture city crown

By Marvin Birchfield

   Finishing at the top in the National League tournament last year, the Elizabethton Twins are looking for a repeat performance after winning the Elizabethton City Little League Tournament over Cash Express.
   "We had a good season last year by finishing second on the season and winning the league tournament, but we lost three guys, so this is a very good start," said Twins coach Bill McKinney.
   The tournament consisted of 16 teams, with both National and American League in the mix.
   The final contest came to head on Friday when the Twins knocked off Cash Express in a 4-2 final at T.J. Burleson Field.
   Cash Express was turned back in the first inning, after Joe Guinn nailed a hit to center field.
   Guinn attempted to come around to second base, but was thrown out with a toss from Zack Montgomery.
   The Twins capitalized off of a mistake when a wild pitch resulted in Montgomery coming into home to make it a 1-0 game.
   Cash Express was in a scoring situation in the top of the second after Justin Bailey hit an infield single. The Express had two runners on base, but was unable to take advantage as Sumner Garland struck out the next batter and a grounder to the shortstop resulted in the third out.
   "We didn't make the plays when we had too, and we had a couple of opportunities to score, but just couldn't do it," said Cash Express coach B.J. Guinn.
   After two straight walks in the top of the fourth, the Twins decided to make a pitching change by bringing Benjamin McKinney to the mound.
   Controversy about whether or not he was eligible to pitch resulted in Garland returning to the mound.
   "We used our 12 year-old pitching up, and we had to come with an 11 year-old, and this is his first year of Little League," said McKinney. "He pitched a couple of innings for us last Saturday, but this was the first time he had any extended time at the mound, and he did a good job."
   A double to center field from Jacob Davis drove home Sammy Mays to tie the contest at 1-1.
   The Twins escaped the inning with minimal damage, and responded in the bottom of the frame by scoring three runs. Lance Reed started the momentum by crushing a triple.
   "Lance started us off and he was due. He struck out the last game and his first time at-bat in this one, but he finally saw it good and drove it to left field," said McKinney.
   A fielding error off a hit from Benjamin McKinney enable Reed to score and give the Twins the lead.
   Two wild pitches contributed the next two runs, with McKinney and Montgomery coming home.
   The Cash Express drew back within two runs in the top of the fifth, after the Twins committed a mistake at the mound with a wild pitch, which enabled Luke Snyder to score.
   It seemed that the Express was in good position to make a rally after the first two hitters made it to base with no outs.
   Garland came back strong for the Twins by striking out the last two batters and bailing them out of the inning.
   The Twins had Cash Express backed into a corner in the bottom of the fifth with two infield singles from Garland and Caleb Durant.
   A response from pitcher Michael Hutchins ended the Twins chance to score, as two consecutive strikeouts sent the game to the final inning.
   "Our pitcher did a good job. He had never pitched before, but we're going to come around and get the bats going soon, and we'll be doing a lot better," said Guinn.
   Cash Express had one last chance left in the sixth frame, but Sumner kept his composure by throwing three straight strikes after being down 3-0 to get the final out.
   "In the last inning he did a good job. He was down 3-0 and came back and got him, and if he didn't get the last guy then they were back to the top of the order," said McKinney.
   Carter County Motors 13
   Burgie Drugs 8
   In the consolation game of the Carter County Little League tournament, it was Carter County Motors defeating Burgie Drug to finish in third place.
   Carter County Motors jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the first three frames, but Burgie was able to cut the deficit down to two runs in the fourth.
   Managing to hang on, Carter County Motors out scored Burgie 6-3 in the final two frames.
   Stacey Sheffield was awarded the win at the mound, while Jordan Meredith was handed the loss.
   The leading hitters for Carter County Motors were Jake Hodge, who was 3-for-3 at the plate, along with Brandon Burchfield and Ethan Meredith, who both went 2-for-3.
   Drew Chambers went 2-for-2 at the plate for Burgie Drug, and Meredith was 2-for-3.