CC American's falter vs. Bluff City

By Marvin Birchfield

   UNICOI- The Carter County American League 13-14 boys were the victim of rain, lightning, and a long hard night that never quite seemed to end with a 9-4 loss to Bluff City on Tuesday.
   "Bluff City played a good, and their pitcher pitched a good game, but I think we were just a little too flat to start off with," said Carter Co. coach Keith Blevins.
   This was not your usual game, but a marathon instead, which lasted four and a half hours with a 90 minute delay, due to weather.
   Bluff City drew first blood in the top of the first, when Cory Strickland hit a ground single to left-field that scored B.J. Nave.
   Carter Co. came back to tie the contest in the bottom of the first with a shot from Kelly Grindstaff to shallow right, bringing home Michael Carpenter.
   Neither team acquired any runs in the second frame, but in the top of the third the game took an unusual twist.
   Bluff City captured two scores with a line-drive single by Bret Harper to bring home Jace Kuhbander, and a fielder's choice from Strickland to score Bradley Broyles.
   Then the sky lit up like the Fourth of July, as the game became postponed for an hour and a half because of lightning and rain.
   Finally when the game restarted, Carter Co. decided to make a pitching change by bringing Tee Blevins to the mound in replace of Cory Pearson.
   Blevins got Carter Co. out of the inning by connecting with two consecutive strike-outs.
   Carter Co. drew within one run in the bottom of the third, when Pearson smacked a hit to right-field to drive-in Blevins.
   Aaron Greer took over with pitching duty in the fourth frame, but was yanked after making four straight walks, which scored a run with Nave coming home.
   "We dug ourselves too big of a hole to a good pitcher, but we did play better later on in the game, and I'm proud of them for battling back," said Blevins.
   Caleb Trivett was next in line to pitch, and the first batter he faced was Strickland.
   Strickland hammered a double to left-field to drive-in three scores with Kuhbander, Broyles, and Harper all coming home.
   "We got the key hits at the right time when runners were on," said Bluff City coach Jim Nave.
   A great defensive stand came in the top of the fifth for Carter Co., after a throw from the pitcher to first-base made one out, and a throw from first to third made another out for a double-play.
   Carter Co. was able to make two runs in the fifth frame, when Pearson hit to right-field bringing-in Carpenter and Blevins.
   "Once we got behind we tried to conserve the best we could, but we didn't never get close enough," said Blevins.
   Bluff City added a run in the sixth with a hit from Strickland to score Broyles giving Bluff City an 8-4 advantage with one and a half innings left.
   Strickland was remarkable with his performance, as he went 3-5 at the plate with 6 RBI's.
   "You can't ask for any more than that with 6 RBI's, and normally we go home after two games, but we came to play to win and we're doing it," said Nave.
   Another score crossed the plate for Bluff City in the top of the seventh, after a hit up the middle from Harper drove home Nave.
   Nave finished the night at the mound for the entire game, as he retired ten batters on strike-outs to grab the win.
   "The pitcher pitched a good game, the defense played well, and the bats hit too," said Nave.
   With one last chance in the bottom of the seventh, Carter Co. scored a run, after a throw from the catcher to third-base rolled in the out-field, that allowed Blevins to come home.
   Two outs were remaining, but a strong effort by Nave at the mound retired the last two hitters on strike-outs.
   Carter Co. will play again on Thursday at 8:30 P.M., where they will face South Holston.