Carter County Bank, Nissan earn first round wins

By Tim Chambers
STAR STAFF
tchambers@starhq.com

   Two games kicked off the first round of the National Little League baseball tournament as Carter County Bank earned a come-from-behind win over KFC 12-8 while Tri-Cities Nissan held off Burgie Drug 4-2 in the nightcap.
   Carter County Bank 12 KFC 8
   The Bankers were taking a licking from the chickens early in the contest but a six run fourth inning by the Bankers helped the money lenders earn a hard fought win.
   KFC and Bank were tied 2-2 after the first inning before the drumsticks slapped on four runs in the third thanks to three base hits from Caleb Durant, Nick Campbell and Sumner Garland.
   The drumsticks used some extra batter in the fourth scoring two runs with Clayton Ray, Durant, Campbell, and Garland making things a little extra crispy for the Bankers.
   Meanwhile Chase Depew was having a field day for the Bankers blasting out a triple and double helping keep the Bank in the game over the first three innings.
   With a six run explosion in the fourth the Bankers cashed in on fourth hits and several walks with Depew, Derek Mann, Matt Potter, and Austin Johnson ripping key hits in the inning.
   Austin Johnson settled down and allowed two more runs before pitching a scoreless fifth to earn the win after the two hour time delay rule.
   Depew had a monster game going 3 for 3 while Mann, Potter, Johnson and Caleb Palm added hits for the Green Machine.
   Durant deep fried the Bankers going 3 for 3 while Campbell added a 2 for 2 performance with Garland chipping in at 2 for 3. Ray and James Benje added hits for KFC.
   "It wasn't our best performance but it's a win," said Banker coach David Mann. "I was proud of my 11-year old pitcher (Johnson) and Chase (Depew), Derek (Mann) and Landon (South) knocked in some key runs." "KFC played a very good game."
   Tri-Cities Nissan 4 Burgie Drug 2
   After opening up a 4-0 lead in the first inning Nissan found the going tough off Burgie pitcher Drew Chambers who shut down the powerful bats for the next four innings.
   Taylor Gouge threw an excellent game for four innings before giving way to Ethan Fleenor who held off Burgie for the win.
   Nissan jumped on top in the first inning as C.J. Bowling ripped a single to right followed by another base hit from Ethan Fleenor. A bad-hop grounder over the first baseman by Drew Clark brought home two Bowling and Campbell for a 2-0 lead.
   Zack Miller got beaned and stole second with Clark at third. Two passed balls accounted for two runs giving Nissan a 4-0 advantage.
   Burgie rallied for two runs in the fourth when Chambers ripped a single up the middle aided by an error and three walks to cut the margin at 4-2.
   Chambers struck out 13 of 15 outs but the four run first inning was too much for Burgie to overcome. Fleenor came on in the fourth and struck out 5 of six outs. Gouge had seven over four innings.
   C.J. Campbell had a fantastic evening at the plate, going 3 for 3 while Fleenor, Clark, Miller and Gouge added hits for Nissan.
   Chambers and Luke Martinez had the only hits for Burgie on the evening.
   I am proud of this team because our kids really came to play tonight," stated Nissan head coach Dale Bowling. "Taylor (Gouge) pitched well and Drew threw a great game. This was a great Little League game to watch."