National All-Stars eye district berth

from staff reports

   The Elizabethton National Little League 12-year-olds began their journey to the finals of the local Little League tournament Saturday, June 28 with a 5-1 victory over Johnson City Major League.
   Benjamin McKinney starred for the 'Betsy boys, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and scoring two runs. Jerry Berkley had a two-run homer in the second inning, while Justin Fuqua was 1-for-3 with a triple.
   Nolan Childers also went 1-for-3 at the plate, while Bradley McVey was 1-for-1 with a double. Chris Dunbar picked up the win for Elizabethton National.
   The next game, the boys suffered a setback with a tough 4-3, eight-inning loss to the Johnson City American All-Stars.
   This came despite the mighty bat of Jerry Berkley, went 4-for-4 including a two-run shot in the second inning for a second straight game. Berkley also scored two runs in the process.
   Fuqua, McVay, Dunbar, Garrett Dykes and losing pitcher Casey Crapps all had one hit apiece. Crapps and Dykes each went for doubles with their hits.
   The loss overshadowed a stellar pitching performance by Benjamin McKinney, who fanned 10 batters and allowed no earned in the first six innings.
   Making their way to the next game would be the toughest task to date, as the boys went 12 innings to score a 2-1 decision over Daniel Boone.
   Dunbar was again the winner on the mound and was the hero of the night with the last of his two hits. Childers led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a walk. Next up, McKinney advanced him to second when he was hit by a pitch. Dunbar took care of business, sending the winning run in with a hit down the first base line.
   McKinney, Berkley, Craig Sheets and Lance Reed all mustered one hit apiece for Elizabethton National.
   A 14-hit affair sent the team into the next round, as Elizabethton National edged Johnson City Major 8-7.
   McKinney's star shone brightly at the plate, where he went 4-for-4 with a double and scored two runs. Childers chimed in going for 2-for-4 including a bases loaded triple.
   Sheets was a perfect 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the fifth. Reed, Crapps, Montgomery, Fuqua, Dykes and McVey all added to the effort with one hit apiece. McKinney saved the day over the last two innings, striking out four of the last six batters.
   The team now advances to the loser bracket final to be held tonight at 7 at T.J. Burleson Field. The winner of that game will advance to the district tournament to be held in Bluff City.