Tri-Cities Nissan, Auction prevail

By Matt Wilson
STAR Correspondent

   Carter County National Little League fans were treated to a good, old-fashioned pitchers duel on Monday night at T.J. Burleson Field.
   Jake Hodge and Logan Bowling's pitching efforts in this game were outstanding, with Bowling's Tri-Cities Nissan team emerging with a 3-2 win over Hodge and Carter County Motors.
   Like some good pitchers, both Hodge and Bowling gave up runs in the first, then settled in.
   Carter County Motors was the first team to draw blood. In the top of the first, Cody Hyder reached first on an error by the shortstop, then Casey Sheffield smacked a single into right.
   Nolan Childers plated Hyder on a single of his own, giving Carter County Motors an early 1-0 advantage.
   TCN answered in its half of the first when Bowling singled and scored on an RBI single by Ethan Fleenor.
   The two strong right-handed hurlers then took over, and it was lights out for batters for the next two innings.
   Hyder started the fourth inning off with a single. From there, CCM executed a hit-and-run, with Hyder advancing to third on Sheffield's second hit of the night.
   Sheffield was then caught stealing second on a nifty throw by Fleenor, but Hyder took advantage and made his way home to give CCM a 2-1 lead.
   TCN tied the score in the fifth when Fleenor singled before scoring on a throwing error by the pitcher.
   Both pitchers, though, silenced the bats the rest of the way and the game entered extra innings in a 2-2 tie.
   In the seventh, Bowling gave way to Fleenor, who came in to finish the game, striking out two CCM batters to give TCN the chance to end it in the bottom of the frame.
   In the lower half of the inning, Hodge gave way to Nolan Childers, and C.J. Bowling started the TCN extra-inning rally with a solid single, setting up his aggressive steal of second base.
   This set up started Logan Bowling with a chance to be a hero, and he was not denied as he singled to center to score C.J. Bowling and end the game.
   TCN manager Dale Bowling was pleased with the efforts of his starting pitcher and his entire team.
   "He pitched a pretty good ball game," Dale Bowling said of Logan Bowling. "It was only our fifth win this year, and the kids toughed it out in the late innings."
   Hits were on a premium on the evening, but Fleenor and Logan Bowling led TCN with two base knocks apiece.
   Sheffield provided the bulk of the CCM offense with two hits of his own.
   Valley Forge Auction 6
   6-Sigma Automation 2
   In the nightcap, Valley Forge Auction had to fight off a pesky 6-Sigma Automation squad intent on an upset.
   The Auctioneers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks in part to some costly Sigma errors.
   John Robinson opened the game by reaching on an error by the Sigma third bagger. Another error put two men on for dangerous first baseman Chris Dunbar, and the lefty slugger Dunbar ripped a shot up the middle, that was too hot for the Sigma second baseman to handle, to load the bases.
   Auctioneer shortstop Garrett Dykes then singled down the left-field line, earning him two RBIs and his team an early 2-0 advantage.
   Sigma threatened in the second as Auctioneer starter Brent Powell retired the first two batters, then struggled with his control and walked the bases full of 6-Sigmas.
   The cagey right-hander gaveth then taketh away as bore down and struck out Brandon Woodby, leaving the basepaths full of Sigmas.
   The feisty Sigma squad answered in the third with two runs of its own. It's been said that good things come in small packages, but evidently dynamite comes in small packages as D.J. Reece crushed his second double of the night to the fence in left-center.
   Richard Lovelace, not to be outdone by his dynamite teammate, laced his own double to the exact same spot, scoring Reece.
   Logan Loving followed up with a single into the 5-6 hole between short and third, plating Lovelace and tying the score at two apiece.
   Powell then settled down and ended the Sigma rally.
   The Auctioneer offense answered by looking to Robinson, who singled and advanced to third on a base hit by Bradley McVay.
   Dunbar then legged out an infield hit, allowing Robinson to score on pure hustle to give Valley Forge the 3-2 edge.
   Robinson gave his starter, Powell, some room to breathe with his first home run of the season, a towering blast that the Sigma left-fielder could only watch.
   Valley Forge plated two more runs in the sixth. Dunbar collected his game-high third hit, then scored on a liner by Dykes that cleared the third-base bag.
   Dykes promptly stole third and scored on a wild pitch, giving the Auctioneers the 6-2 lead.
   Powell gave way to Jerry Berkley, who struck out two in the final two frames to second a save and the win for Valley Forge Auction.