Twins crowned NLL Champs

By Travis Brown
STAR Sports
tbrown@starhq.com

   The Elizabethton National Little League ended up its 2002 campaign with a fine championship contest Saturday afternoon, despite a solid effort by BET Welding, the Elizabethton Twins were crowned champion by a score of 12-6.
   BET showed they belonged in the big dance with a win over Valley Forge Auction on Friday, but their title run would come to an end against the second-seeded Twins.
   The first inning was all BET as they went up early thanks to some timely hits and some miscues by the Twins. Although known as a fundamentally solid team, the Twins allowed four runs to score on only two hits, thanks to three errors and a double steal.
   After the shock of the first inning saw BET up by four, the Twins settled in and started to slowly crawl back into the ballgame. Most importantly pitcher Ben McKinney found his stride as well.
   The remainder of the game saw opportunities hard to come by for the Welders.
   In the home half of the first, the Twins got on the board after a leadoff single by Lance Reed. BET pitcher Josh Sorah retired the next two hitters only to see Craig Sheets single to drive in Reed and cut the lead to three heading to the second.
   After retiring BET in the top of the second, the Twins added yet another run in the bottom half of the inning, Skyler Dugger's leadoff walk in the second would pay dividends as he would come in to cut the lead to only two.
   The Twins success was due largely in part to production from the leadoff hitter. The Twins managed to put the leadoff hitter on base in four out of five innings. Production from the leadoff spot accounted for scoring as well, all four of the leadoff hitters who reached base came around to score.
   The third saw the beggining of the end for BET. After failing to score in the top half of the inning, McKinney helped his effort on the mound by going yard over the center field fence to tie the game at 4-4 going into the fourth. The homerun seemed to demoralize the Welders for a moment, as the Twins were turning the tide enroute to the win.
   The Twins would not let off the pressure as they would have a big inning of their own in the fourth. Two hit batsmen, and a pair of errors were enough for the Twins to plate four runs. The threat was silenced with the bases loaded on an infield fly that turned into a double play.
   The top half of the fifth gave BET some hope as Justin Bailey reached base on an error and a pair of doubles by Sorah and Micheal Hutchins would be enough to plate two runs and pull to within two runs of the Twins.
   But the insurance policy was waiting for the Twins in the home half of the fifth, as they would again score four runs to put the contest out of reach.
   A pair of leadoff singles by McKinney and Zach Montgomery were folowed by a slew of walks. The two hits combined with five walks were enough to seal the deal for the Twins.
   The Welder's last chance in the top of the sixth fell short as two baserunners just were not enough. Despite the deep hole, the Welders made a valliant effort but simply came up short.
   For BET the triumph was just reaching the championship contest, but to the victors go the spoils.