Express, T&C forge ahead

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   The annual Carter County American League tournament showcased two one-sided affairs Thursday evening at Jim Ensor Field.
   In the opener, Summers & Taylor took on Expert Express in what promised to be both an offensive and pitching showcase. Express posted a bundle of runs while Hunter Taylor and Blake Russell combined for a no-hit shutout en route to a 10-nil victory.
   Expert Express took the early lead when Shane Heaton and Aaron Bradford got on board to make way for Nick Papantoniou's three-run blast. After taking the 3-0 lead, Express was the beneficiary of some charity.
   Back-to-back miscues by S&T put runners on first and second base as Brent Thomas came to the plate. With a towering blast over the center-field fence, Thomas put the Express up 6-0.
   From that point on it was all Express as it tacked on four more runs in the home half of the second inning to take a commanding 10-0 lead.
   Perhaps Expert should have saved some of that offensive firepower as its pitching staff was busy showcasing its ability as well. Taylor pitched the first two innings, issuing two free passes and striking out six.
   Blake Russell came in to pitch the third and fourth innings and did more of the same, striking out the side in both innings. It was an impressive performance from both young men in the no-hitter.
   The stellar offensive output combined with the mound gem from the bullpen was more than enough to send the top-seeded Express into the next round of the tourney unscathed.
   Citizens Bank 1
   T&C 11
   In the second affair of the evening Citizens Bank struggled early and never quite found its stride as the Bankers suffered an 11-1 thrashing at the hands of T&C Lawn Care.
   The Bankers were put away without incident in the first two innings as they could garner only one baserunner.
   Meanwhile the T&C was busy manufacturing some offense. After having the leadoff man thrown out at third, Bryant Collins drew a walk and Jeff Peters stroked a single to left field to get baserunners in scoring position.
   Jarred Irick followed up with a double to right center to score Collins and Peters to give Lawn Care the early advantage.
   After a scoreless effort for Bank in the third, Peters and Irick would cross the dish on an E.J. Newbern double to the gap in right center. Newbern would later score as well to give Lawn Care a 5-0 lead going to the fourth.
   Citizens Bank would not go quietly however as it got on the board in the fourth. Anthony Cole drew a leadoff walk and came in to score on Adam Colbaugh's ground-rule double to right center, pulling the Bankers within four runs heading into the bottom half of the fourth.
   But what seemed to be the beginning of a rally was crushed in the home half as two errors and a pair of triples by Peters and Newbern registered three more runs for T&C, making it an 8-1 game heading to the fifth.
   Lawn Care added three more in the bottom half of the fifth to bring the contest to a close. Josh Peterson went 3-3 with a pair of infield singles in the winning Lawn Care effort.