CCAL breezes to Zone 3 crown

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   SOUTH HOLSTON -- They came as a team, and left as a team.
   Backed behind a strong nine-run effort in the fourth inning, the Carter County American League 9-10 year-old All-Stars hammered Johnson City Major with a 12-1 whipping in the Zone 3 championship at South Holston Little League park on Saturday night.
   "I will still say the same thing I said earlier," said CCAL coach Jerry Pierce. "This team plays well together. They hit the ball well, run the bases aggressively. It was just a total effort.
   "The defense, pitching, hitting -- these boys play together. They had good hitting the whole tournament."
   It took a couple of innings for American to grab hold of Ty Shipley's pitching style for Major, going three up and down in the first inning.
   Johnson City struck hard with two singles from Will Carter and David Stevens, but the Carter County defense was too tough, holding them into the second.
   American came out with two straight mishandled plays from the bats of Justin Pierce and Dakota Waters, but Major caught a break with two consecutive pop outs.
   Major bounced back with a fielder's choice play from Gannon Glaspie, who scored on a Zac Thompson triple, giving Johnson City the 1-0 mark.
   Carter County bounced back quick with two straight singles from Jacob Taylor and Franky Covarrubias. Jake Hodge stepped up with a towering two RBI single, and scored himself from a error, taking the 3-1 lead.
   Major had a tough time coming back in the third, as the Amercian defense looked as stout as a brick wall. They couldn't get anything past them.
   All American needed was one inning and one spot to take advantage of the Major situation. It was tough to accomplish at first, with Daniel Norris on the mound, but the boys battled back.
   With two outs on them in the fourth, Carter County battled hard. Jacob Taylor started off with an errored bat, followed by a Covarrubias play. Eryasa and Hodge followed up with walks, scoring Taylor.
   Josh Peterson stepped up, and with one pitch drove a shot into left center, doubling home Covarrubias and Eryasa. Hodge also scored, avoiding the tag at the plate, giving CCAL the 7-1 lead.
   Justin Pierce followed up with an RBI double, and scored with a singling Waters after a two-RBI shot from Micah Cates.
   Logan Andrews followed up with a single, scoring Zack Naylor and Cates to give American the 12-1 takeover.
   Major tried to follow up, but fell short with outstanding American defense and two strikeouts from Justin Pierce, who completed his game with the win from the mound.
   The 12-1 victory completes American's bid in the zone tournament as it now advances to the district finale this Monday night.
   "If you come to a tournament and fall short in something, you'll lose, but we have got everything," Jerry Pierce said. "I don't think I'm as proud of a bunch of kids as this."
   Peterson led American with his two-for-three outing, doubling and providing two RBIs and a run in his effort.
   Major was led by Carter, who had two singles for his squad.
   Carter County American advances to the district championship game against Greeneville National in Mountain City on Monday at 8:30 p.m. Good luck to our local team.