Lawn Care, E-Federal end regular season on good notes

By Marvin Birchfield
star staff

  The Carter County American Little League season wrapped up on Thursday with T-N-C Lawn Care capping off a near-perfect season along with Elizabethton Federal getting a victory to finish second.
  All season long T-N-C has been the team to beat, and with a slip up earlier this week, Lawn Care received its only loss, to Citizen's Bank.
  "We got beat last week by a good ball team -- they showed up with their bats and we didn't," said T-N-C Lawn Care manager Jerry Pierce. "That's probably our worst game hitting, and tonight we didn't hit and the defense stunk, but as bad as it got we didn't give up and we pulled it out. I'm proud of them for that."
  On Thursday it was T-N-C posting a victory over KFC in a close final of 3-2 to end the year at 16-1.
  In the bottom of the first, T-N-C jumped ahead 2-0 after several KFC mistakes.
  An error on a throw to first base allowed the first batter, Franky Covarrubias to reach, and the miscue eventually came back to bite KFC.
  A walk to Tyler Jaynes placed the next batter on base, and after a couple of wild pitches, T-N-C was able to bring both runners home.
  KFC came back to score a run in the top of the second, after T-N-C made three consecutive errors to start the inning.
  A hit by Jake Range and throw to first base allowed Dan Campbell to score for KFC.
  T-N-C responded in the bottom of the frame, as another wild pitch brought home Jacob Hitchcock.
  "I thought this team would get down after Jonathan Chapman broke his arm, but they came back and played real well," said Pierce. "I think these last two games they got laxed because they didn't mean anything, but I think come tournament time they'll be ready to play.
  "I've got a great group of parents and every time we have practice all the kids are here, whether it's too hot or whatever."
  The defense of KFC played a tough game, but it was a few critical errors in the early going that cost it a chance of upsetting the number one team in the league.
  KFC kept a run from crossing in the bottom of the third after the bases were loaded on a hit from Covarrubias and a couple of walks.
  "We had all our 12-years-olds step up and played good ball, but hats off to T-N-C. They play good defense and that's where they beat you," said KFC manager Jonathan Whitehead.
  In the last frame, KFC made a rally to threaten, as Jordan Adams led off with a hit to center field.
  Adams would score after T-N-C made a mistake, with the catcher overthrowing the ball to the pitcher at the mound.
  A walk to Campbell and a hit to right field from Range nearly tied the contest, but a good throw from Michael Starnes in right field kept another run from crossing.
  With runners on third and second and just one out, T-N-C was able to keep KFC from scoring with a fly-out to first-base and strike by Justin Pierce.
  "They made that one mistake late, but unfortunately we didn't have runners in place to score, but they're winners and they deserve to win," said Whitehead. "We hope to get the first game under our belt in the tournament, and probably match-up again with T-N-C and possibly have a shot at it."
  Elizabethton Federal 9
  Summers-Taylor 2
  On a post-poned game from the third inning on May 31, Elizabethton Federal was able to hold onto their big advantage, going in with a 9-2 final and sole possession of second place.
  "This was what we expected on the season and they've played really tough, so I'm proud of every single one of them," said Elizabethton Federal coach Herman Price. "We hope to make some surprises and we're playing about as good as anybody right now, and that's where we want to be come tournament time."
  The game was picked up in the bottom of the third, with Elizabethton Federal holding a 7-1 lead.
  "We jumped out on them early, and then tonight came out and played good ball," said Price. "I had two young pitchers come in and do a good job, so we're just working a little toward next season. I have a great group of boys, and I'm proud of everyone of them for they've all worked hard."
  Summers-Taylor was faced with two outs, and a strikeout from Logan Shell moved the game right away to the fourth frame.
  After struggling to capture a hit, Summers-Taylor caught a break in the bottom of the fourth with a walk to Brian Hamby, which drove in Sam Parlier.
  "Sometimes we play pretty good ball and then sometimes we don't, but I've got a real young group of kids," said Summers-Taylor coach Travis Whitehead. "We've improved all year long and played good defense, but just can't get the bats going."
  Elizabethton Federal came back in the top of the fifth to add two more runs to its lead, as a double from Daniel McInturff brought home Dakota Price and Drew Singleton.
  In the last two frames of the night, Summers-Taylor was unable to connect with the bat, which enabled Elizabethton Federal to finish in second place on the season just ahead of Citizens Bank.
  "I have great respect for them showing up like they have," said Whitehead of his team. "I've had nine kids on the roster all year long, and those same nine have showed up no matter if sick, tired, head ache, or whatever -- they're always there."
  Brett Price was 3-for-3 at the plate for Elizabethton Federal with two RBIs and one home run.