Citizen's Bank, TNC advance in CCA tournament

By Matt Wilson
STAR Correspondent

   David's Auto faced the Goliath of Carter County American League play, Citizen's Bank, with an upset in mind Tuesday night at Jim Ensor Field.
   The two teams squared off in winners' bracket play with hopes of advancing in the league tournament, and put up a good fight. The Bankers, though, withstood the challenge for a 6-2 win.
   The feisty David's Auto squad was not intimidated by facing the regular-season Champion Bankers as it handed Citizen's two of its three defeats during the course of the season.
   The Bankers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first after a mammoth blast by league home-run record holder Adam Colbaugh.
   David's Auto pitcher Logan Carden was trying to pitch around the league's best batsmen when a 2-0 pitch sailed just close enough to the plate for Colbaugh to extend his arms and crush it to deep center.
   David's Auto manufactured a run in the second when Citizen's pitcher Marcus Hill struggled with his control. Alec Chambers drew a walk and stole his way to third. Walks to Zack Naylor and Justin Nave loaded the bases and Chambers scored on a wild pitch.
   Logan Carden wasn't able to aid his own cause as he went down swinging with the bases still loaded. The Bankers increased its lead in the third as pitching around the slugger Colbaugh proved to be of not much help as he promptly swiped second and third on consecutive pitches.
   Another walk and an error allowed Citizen's to plate two runs without the benefit of a hit.
   David's Auto answered its opponent's rally again as Jake Hubbard beat out an infield single, then advanced to third on a throwing error. Hubbard then scored on a wild pitch. That was all David's Auto could muster and the Bankers added two more runs in their final at bat to advance in the winner's bracket.
   TNC Lawncare 10
   Cline-Holder 4
   In the nightcap, TNC Lawncare and Cline-Holder squared off to see who would advance to play the Game 1 winner, Citizen's Bank.
   The game seemed headed to be a nailbiter as after three innings of play, TNC's ace Justin Pierce was clinging to a 1-0 lead.
   In the fourth TNC padded its lead as Josh Lipford started a rally with a single to left. A walk to Tyler Jaynes then set up the starter Pierce with a chance to increase his lead. Pierce seemed up to the test as he singled to bring the lead to 3-0.
   Cline-Holder then answered with a rally of its own.
   Zack Bowles legged out an infield hit that Pierce had a little trouble fielding. The error seemed to affect Pierce as he then struggled with his control. Three straight walks plated Boles with the first C-H run.
   From there, Greg Sams collected two RBIs as he singled in two runs to knot the game at 3-3.
   Pierce then collected himself and struck out two of the next three batters and ended the inning himself on a comebacker off the bat of Dustie VanHuss.
   TNC responded with the help of two errors and double off the bat of Josh Lipford to take the lead at 5-3. Cline-Holder answered in the fifth with a double from its sparkplug Zack Boles.
   Boles then stole his way to third and scored on a wild pitch to send the game into its final inning with TNC clinging to a 5-4 lead.
   Hopes of a classic baseball finish were put on hold though as TNC erupted for five runs in its last at bat to give its ace Pierce the breathing room he needed. Pierce struck out the final two batters to send his team forward into the winner's bracket to face powerhouse Citizen's Bank.