'Betsy 13s drop first game in USSSA bracket competition

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

JOHNSON CITY -- As play wound down in the 2003 USSSA National Tournament, being played on Wednesday afternoon at Winged Deer Park, the Elizabethton 13-year-old team was hoping to put aside its performance on Tuesday and come back with a vengeance to claim a national title for Carter County.
Elizabethton felt confident in the day's first game against Foothills, N.C., especially since it had southpaw ace Jeff Peters on the hill. Unfortunately for Elizabethton, Foothills feasted on bloop base hits and another lackadaisical effort in the field by a 'Betsy defense that committed four errors, as Foothills took a 10-2 six-inning decision.
Things looked positive for Elizabethton early as the boys from E-Town crossed the plate twice in the top of the first inning. Peters managed a walk between two strikeouts by Foothills pitcher Zach English.
J.D. Scalf cashed in with a single to place runners at first and second for center fielder Cody Marley. Marley brought the Elizabethton fans to their feet with a solid single that scored both Peters and Scalf for the 2-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Peters held Foothills in check allowing only one hit in the first two innings. The first inning proved to be the only bright spot offensively for Elizabethton as the Phantoms came to life in the third inning by logging five runs on five hits and three 'Betsy miscues to open the scoring floodgate.
"The biggest thing for us is that we have guys playing positions that they haven't played at during the regular season," said Elizabethton manager C.Y. Peters. "It shows by the number of errors we have made in the last two days plus we just didn't swing the bats at all today."
A double by David Carswell scored one run while English helped his cause with a single that pushed two runs across in the inning.
It was only a matter of making the outs for the Phantoms from that point on as Elizabethton could muster only a single off the bat of C.J. Campbell in the fifth inning. Foothills added two runs in the fourth and three in the bottom of the sixth to propel the team from North Carolina into the winner's bracket game.
Blake Hopson had the only other hit for Elizabethton in the first inning.
The Phantoms will face off against Troop, Ga., a 14-9 winner over No. 1-seeded Rogersville in the morning's first game.
The loss pushed Elizabethton into a do-or-die game with Rogersville to remain in the chase for the opportunity to win the title.
"If we can make the right decisions when the ball is hit to us, we should be able to still challenge for the title," said Peters. "All it takes is making the catch and then make the throw to get those easy outs we are making mistakes on."
Note: Heavy storm clouds moved through and deluged the fields to a condition where the games scheduled to be played on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. will resume this morning at 9 a.m., with Elizabethton taking on Rogersville -- with the winner remaining in the hunt and the loser awarded fourth place for the tournament.
The winner advances to play against the loser of the Foothills-Troop game at 1 p.m.