Grocery, Dino's prove victorious

By Marvin Birchfield

   Not being able to stand success, Elizabethton Herb & Metal dropped another game as Milligan Grocery put a 17-1 pounding on H&M in open league softball action Wednesday night.
   "We got a couple of wins under our belt tonight, and now we're ready to take on Dino's, so bring it on," said Milligan's 'Money' Jimmy Townsend. "This was just an early birthday present for me this evening."
   Elizabethton played Milligan tough the first two innings, but as usual found a way to let another potential win slip away with its stumbling, fumbling defense.
   In the first frame, Elizabethton took a 1-0 lead after a fielder's choice was hit by Tony Oliver and an error at first base allowed Jason Salley to score.
   Milligan came back to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the second, when a hit from Tim Parks drove home Jamie Johnson.
   It was a nice grab from Elizabethton's shortstop Robert Reece during the second frame, as he made an amazing catch after tripping over his own feet and falling to the ground.
   Milligan Grocery got the bats swinging in the third frame, by crushing the "Metal" with scoring eight runs.
   A three-run homer from Spencer Goodwin got the momentum started, along with some errors which helped from the Elizabethton defense.
   The Grocery continued to ring up the score in the last frame, as Parks scored the last run when he eluded a diving tag at home from Thomas Proffitt, which left the runner safe and the catcher skinned up.
   Milligan Grocery 22
   Smokers 12
   Milligan Grocery put out the Smokers in five innings of play, after the slaughter rule came into effect on a 22-12 final.
   A 5-1 lead was obtained by Milligan in the first inning, after a double from Steve Henegar drove in John Johnson and Jeff Crowder.
   The Smokers came back to score six runs in the second frame and take a 7-5 advantage.
   A hit from Travis Hill gave the Smokers the lead, as Jason Carden came in for the score.
   Milligan assumed control in the bottom of the third, when a home-run shot from Henegar scored himself, Bill Matherly and Crowder.
   The Smokers tied the contest in the top of the fourth, after David Powell smacked a two-run homer which brought Brian Stevens to the plate.
   It was Milligan Grocery which was smoking instead of the Smokers in the bottom of the fourth, when 10 runs were scored to bring the contest in threat of the mercy rule for the next inning.
   The Smokers only captured one score in the top of the fifth, off an error in the outfield, which allowed David Jones to come home.
   A shot to right field from Matherly ended the game, with Matherly crossing the plate for the winning run.
   Dino's 24
   Cundy Merchants 2
   Dino's made it look easy in their win against the Merchants, with team leader Jerry Rouse helping his team stay focused and get the 24-2 victory.
   "I've told these boys not to get too excited just yet," said Rouse. "We might not be the team this season. Rocky Top, which has been playing second fiddle to us for the past decade, is pretty strong right now."
   After being blasted by his teammates last week for not playing, the team's morale and spirits seemed to be at an all-time high with his presence on the field.
   "These boys lack some confidence, and they simply cannot function without me," said Rouse. "It's sometimes hard for people to say something good about you, when you're the best thing going today."
   The mega-star Rouse went to work quickly with a leadoff double, which got the emotions fired-up for Dino's.
   A hit from Larry Absher drove in Rouse to score the first of eight runs posted in the first frame.
   Craig Ingram and "Jarfly" Lance Dugger both nailed homers, as Dino's had acquired a 13-0 lead by the end of the second inning.
   "I'm surprised that "Jarfly was even playing tonight, since he's been bitten by the "love-bug" recently," said Rouse.
   The jet-flying, limousine-riding son of a gun Rouse had to make his departure in the third frame -- due to other obligations -- with the "Bod" Jeff Hutchins making the replacement.
   "Old 'Peabody' Hutchins might make fun of me while I'm not around, but he knows what the truth is that makes this team what it is," said Rouse.
   The Merchants captured its first run of the night in the third frame, when Thomas Buchanan smacked a single to drive in Mark Stevens.
   Dino's continued to control the tempo in the last inning, as John Campbell crushed his second homer of the contest.
   The Merchants were only able to add one run in the bottom of the fourth to bring the game to a close, as a hit by Kevin Burchfield to right field scored Adam Heaton.
   "They might call me trash, but I'm the kind of trash everybody wants to handle," Rouse said. "They like to get down and dirty along with me."