E-National deflates Blountville

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The big orange machine came storming through at the National Little League park on Monday as the Elizabethton National League 11-12 All-Stars blanked Blountville by a first-round final of 11-0.
   "We've really worked hard on trying to hit the fastball, and that's about all the pitcher threw against us, so we were able to get the timing down," said Elizabethton National manager Bill McKinney.
   It was an impressive performance by both the defense and offense, with hits coming frequent and strikeouts being a must.
   Kenny Yarberry was head of the spotlight, as he pitched a no-hitter in four innings along with 10 retirees on strikes.
   "Kenny hadn't pitched in about two weeks, so he was fresh and it showed tonight," said McKinney.
   The Elizabethton offense started rolling in the second inning when leadoff batter Brandon Woods connected with a hit.
   Woods came in to score after Lance Reed made contact with the ball to drive in Elizabethton's first run. Another run came across the plate when a fielder's choice from Justin Peters brought home Yarberry.
   Three consecutive walks produced the next score, with Reed coming home, then a hit from C.J. Campbell drove home Josh Sorah.
   The last two runs of the inning were scored off of a double from Woods, which brought in Blake Hopson and Benjamin McKinney to give Elizabethton a 6-0 lead in the top of the second.
   Elizabethton struck again in the third frame after a triple to right filed from Sorah brought home Daniel Simerly.
   Yarberry turned up the heat from the mound in the third and fourth frames by striking out six of the seven batters faced.
   "We made the plays when we had to, but there wasn't many we had to make. I couldn't be more pleased with the way Kenny pitched," said Bill McKinney.
   Elizabethton was able to close out the game in the fourth frame, as four runs scored putting the mercy rule into effect.
   It started with a leadoff double to right field from Benjamin McKinney, who ended up scoring after a single by Campbell.
   Another run crossed when a shot to center field from Reed knocked in Woods.
   The last two runs came off of a double up the middle from Simerly to drive in Yarberry and Reed.
   "I thought we really stepped up and hit the ball well, and if we can get another pitching performance like we did tonight, then I like our chances," said McKinney.
   Unicoi County 3
   Greeneville 2
   You've got to give the Devil his due, for he knows how to put on a show whether he's dressed in green or blue, as Unicoi County slipped past Greeneville National in a thrilling 3-2 finale.
   "I knew they had a good team, but it was just that we were able to keep them off balance," said Unicoi County manager Andrew Lingerfelt.
   It was a relentless battle between two clubs who were not willing to give one another an inch, with this game not being decided until the final two innings of play.
   "I was proud of my boys the way they came back, and we were able to get a couple of key hits," said Lingerfelt.
   Both teams had superb pitching and good fielding play, which denied the opportunity for either team to score early on.
   It looked as if Greeneville might strike first in the top of the third with a runner on third base and one out. But a pop out to the second baseman and a strikeout from Andrew Lingerfelt bailed Unicoi County out of the inning.
   "Andrew did a good job through six innings. He had three pitches working for him, and they got a few hits but not many," said Lingerfelt.
   Unicoi had a runner on second in the bottom of the inning after Ryan Scott smacked a double to center field.
   Then Cody Williams came up with a hit to right field that was looking to be a base hit, but Brandon Campbell made a diving catch to make the final out.
   Things started happening in the fifth frame for Unicoi when Matt McCorkle led off with a double and Jonathon Canady followed with a walk. This would produce two scores after an attempt by the catcher to throw McCorkle out at third was too high and rolled out into right field.
   Greeneville made a rally in the top of the sixth with a triple to right field from Michael Cox that drove in Ryan Hopson.
   The game became tied when Cline Everhart hit a fielder's choice, and the throw from shortstop to home was unsuccessful, with Cox scoring.
   The bottom of the sixth was the tale of the tape, though, as Greeneville started off by committing two crucial errors. With runners on second and first base, McCorkle came up with a hard shot to left field to bring home Derek Shelton and seal the victory.
   "Matt McCorkle came in with a big-game winning hit, and I knew he could do it. He knocked 15 home runs during the year," said Lingerfelt.