T&C, Expert Express play to 8-8 deadlock

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   The opening game in Thursday's action from Carter County American Little League was reminiscent of the World Series hey day of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers matchups where it was more like two bulls butting horns with neither wanting to give any ground.
   League leader T&C Lawn Care had all it wanted and more as the second-place Expert Express came to Jim Ensor Field dressed for battle.
   After two hours of rock-solid hitting and stellar defensive plays, the game was suspended in the same position as it started with the score all deadlocked at 8-8.
   The Express got the scoring going in the second inning as Blake Russell drew a walk and came around to score without the benefit of a hit to give Expert the 1-0 lead.
   Playing solid defense, the Express added two more runs to their ledger in the top of the third with two outs as Shane Heaton walked with Aaron Bradford and Nick Papantoniou reaching on back-to-back errors.
   Hunter Taylor picked up an RBI by knocking Bradford in with a single. At the end of two and a half innings of play, the Express was looking good with a 3-0 advantage.
   T&C showed why they are leaders of the pack in the bottom of the third as they came storming back with five runs of their own in the bottom of the third.
   Cory Miller reached on a single with Bryant Collins drawing a base-on-balls. Jarred Irick came through with a clutch single to score both runners.
   Justin Pierce drew another walk as did Franky Covarrubias. Josh Peterson rapped a single to plate Irick. Knox Erysha and Josh Lipford each recorded RBI's as each batter worked the pitching of the Express for two more walks.
   At the end of three T&C now was in command of the contest with a 5-3 lead.
   The boys of Lawn Care held on tight in the top of the fourth as they slammed the door on Expert to keep the game in check. T&C kicked in like a high-powered John Deere tractor in the bottom of the frame looking to put the Express away.
   Kevin Largent reached on an error and came in as Jeff Peters swatted the daylights out of the ball for a two-run homer, increasing T&C's advantage to 7-3.
   Expert responded in a resounding fashion in the top of the fifth as the Express rolled up four runs to even the score at 7-7.
   Heaton reached with a single ad was followed by an RBI double off the bat of Bradford. It was Papantoniou time, as Nick stepped to the plate and deposited the offering over the fence for a two-run round tripper.
   Russell rounded out the scoring as the young man tripled and raced home for the tying score.
   In the sixth inning each team would record a single run. Birchfield drew a walk and scored on a Brit Yelton triple for the Express.
   Collins singled and advanced around the base path on two errors and a walk to pull T&C even at 8-8. Free baseball was on tap.
   Neither team could pull off a run in the seventh inning and as a result of the two hour time limit in little league baseball, the teams will have to settle this game before they play their regularly scheduled game on Saturday knotted at seven all.
   A-1 Auto.....................7
   KFC.............................9

   In the nightcap, KFC looked to be chasing a greased pig as a slippery bunch of A-1 Auto little leaguers gave KFC a tight-fisted affair with KFC holding on loosely to pull out a 9-7 win.
   A-1 scored a solo run in the first with Jordan Taylor drawing a walk and scoring on a single by Aaron Taylor to give A-1 a brief lead at 1-0.
   KFC heated up the cooker a little hotter in the bottom of the inning as they plated four runs to surge ahead. Chris Triplett walked to get things in motion for KFC.
   Micah Cates ripped a triple to knock in Triplett and even the score. Bruce Crumley followed with a base-on-balls and came all the way around on an inside the park homer by speedy catcher Jacques Romain to put KFC in the drivers seat for the time being at 4-1.
   A-1 appeared to change the spark plugs between innings as they came out roaring like a 57' Chevy in the top of the second.
   Zack Naylor, Barbara Moreland, Chelsea Moreland, and Myla Williams all garnered walks as the pitcher had a hard time finding the strike zone for KFC.
   Justin Nave came to the plate and put a little extra juice into an offering from the KFC pitcher for a base-clearing triple. Nave scored on a single by Aaron Taylor to help A-1 regain the lead at 6-4.
   KFC didn't take too kindly to the way A-1 came storming back and plated two in the bottom of the inning to bring the game back to an Even-Steven affair.
   Chase Dye reached on a walk and was followed by a single by hard-hitting Phillip Plale. Dye came dashing home on a throwing error by the A-1 catcher and was followed closely by Plale.
   Brandon Potter reached on a walk and Sam Adams singled but the KFC pair was stranded as A-1 managed to pull their defense together.
   Neither team could produce any offense in the third frame, but the boys from A-1 felt they could rally and they did as Justin Taylor walked and scored on a scorching double by Aaron Taylor to take a slim one run lead as the 10 o'clock curfew closed in.
   With a sense of urgency, KFC sent a message that they came looking for the "W" as Romain got his team going again with a single.
   Using aggressive base-running, KFC quickly turned the one run deficit into a 9-7 lead as Andy Hardin reached on a walk as did Dye. Romain and Hardin scored on errors and Dye scored on a Sam Adams single as the game was called at 10 PM with KFC still batting.
   Action resumes at Jim Ensor Field on Friday night with games beginning at 5:45 PM.