Ron's Masonry takes minor-league title

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   It went all the way down to the wire in the Carter County Minor League Championship game Monday, as Ron's Masonry celebrated with a 10-9 win over Infinity Paint Service in the last inning of play.
   After falling behind early, Ron's Masonry was able to post four runs in the final frame to capture a one-run victory.
   "It took a lot of team effort, and that's what these guys have done this year," said Ron's Masonry manager Jeff Wilson. "I told them they were going to have to come together as a team, and that's what it took."
   Infinity grabbed a 3-1 lead during the first inning, when Chris Russell and Greg Parke scored off of two passed balls.
   Parke opened up the scoring drive with a hit and error at second base to bring home Josh Willis.
   "We had some good hits, but we stole a couple of times when we didn't need to," said Infinity Paint Service manager Dan Parke.
   Ron's Masonry acquired one run in the top of the first after a triple to left field brought in Greg Stines.
   After scoring three runs in the bottom of the third, Ron's tied the contest when Michael Morton was hit by a pitch with bases loaded, scoring Tyler Price.
   An inside-the-park home run from Joseph Wilson gave Ron's a two-run lead heading into the fifth and final frame.
   "We've done this all year long with Ron's, and it's one of those games that could have gone either way," said Parke.
   Catcher Damen Brankley made a good throw to third base to start the fifth frame for Ron's, capturing his third putout of the night.
   Infinity was able to regain the lead when Tyler Carr made the steal home, after a throwback to the mound went over the pitcher's head.
   It was a 9-6 lead for Infinity when a Phillip Sparks groundout drove home Adam McAninch.
   With two runs crossing due to walks with bases loaded, Brankley stepped up to smack a double to center field, driving in Michael Pierce, and Stines for the winning run.
   "We had some mistakes and fell behind, but we were able to get the hits when we needed them," said Wilson.
   Consolation Game
   Fletcher's Store 4
   Pizza Plus 9
   Pizza Plus was able to pull away in the third frame to secure a third-place spot.
   "The first inning was a little shaky for us, but then the boys stepped up and hit the ball along with playing some pretty good defense," said Pizza Plus manager Mark Simmons.
   Fletcher's grabbed the early lead with a triple from Zack Oliver to drive in Darion Morton and Michael Bachman.
   "We started out good in the first inning by getting some good hits, and then we came out after that and made a few errors that hurt us, and that's basically how it ended," said Fletcher's Store manager Ernie Campbell.
   In the bottom of the second, Pizza Plus tied the contest after an infield error allowed Ozzy Thomas to come home.
   "I was proud of how our whole team played tonight," said Simmons. "Even the bottom of our lineup came through and hit the ball for us."
   Five runs were added for Pizza Plus in the bottom of the third, as Thomas Elliot scored off an inside-the-park home run to give them the lead and capture the win.
   "I'm proud of how the boys have played all season -- they all did a spectacular job," said Campbell.
   Major League
   Birchfield's Construction 4
   Horseless Carriage 2
   Hopes were kept alive for Birchfield's Construction in its 4-2 victory over Horseless Carriage, forcing a final game with winner-take-all on Friday.
   "We had some good hits, and did a good job with running the bases," said Birchfield's Construction manager Dan Parke. "They win as a team and lose as a team, but tonight they did great."
   Horseless Carriage took the quick advantage in the first inning when a throw from the catcher got past the third baseman, enabling Nick Keranan to come home.
   "The boys stepped up the first couple of innings, and then we made key errors in the last inning which gave them their last couple of runs," said Horseless Carriage manager Jody Vines.
   David Johnson scored off a wild pitch in the top of the second, as it looked as if Birchfield's season might be coming to the bitter end.
   The Construction pulled within one run after the third frame, when a throw that was off from first to third-base gave Daniel Birchfield the opportunity to score.
   "Our guys just made a few mistakes and we lost the ball game, but we'll comeback Friday ready to play," said Vines.
   Birchfield's came alive in the bottom of the fourth, as a couple of passed balls enabled Richard Buchanan and Cody Hilton to score, giving Birchfield its first lead of the contest.
   After David Johnson connected on a double to lead off the top of the fifth, pitcher Jeff Wilson retired three out of the next four batters with strikeouts to force the series to its final game.
   "It went down to the wire there for a while, but we got some great pitching from Jeff Wilson, and he's going to be something when he gets a little older," said Parke.