Elizabethton 13s settle for fourth

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

JOHNSON CITY -- The Rogersville Braves came to Winged Deer Park looking to ambush the Elizabethton 13s and quickly to advance into the loser's bracket final.
Scoring four runs in each of the first three innings, Rogersville held on for dear life as the boys from E-Town made a mad dash for the finish line before falling 12-8 on Thursday morning.
"We beat the number six team in the nation (Troop, Ga.) in pool play while letting a win slip away against the number two team (Foothills, N.C.) in the seventh inning," stated Elizabethton manager C.Y. Peters. "These guys never will give up and just kept getting better, playing 13 games in 13 days."
Fatigue may have actually been a factor in the contest, as early on there was no bounce in the legs of the 'Betsy team. An uncharacteristic 10 errors in three innings also was indicative of a worn out team.
Rogersville showed no pity on Jeff Peters, either, pounding out 12 hits to pour salt over the wound of the Elizabethton errors.
Braves leadoff batter Ethan Blair reached base and scored three times on two doubles and an error in the early stages of the game. Cleanup batter Darran Haun went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double, adding three more scores to propel the Braves into solid position before the E-Town team could recoup.
Elizabethton finally woke up in the top of the third by registering four runs on one hit and two errors by the Braves. Wendall Loving was pegged by a pitch, with Jeff Peters and Nick Papantoniou reaching on consecutive errors.
J.D. Scalf drew a walk to keep the one-out rally going. Blake Hopson then stroked a double before Rogersville responded with back-to-back flyball outs.
The score stood 12-4 after three complete.
Scalf, who came in relief of Peters in the second, found success against Rogersville with his slower delivery and his team appearing poised to raid the Braves camp.
If Elizabethton was to come back it would be without the services of its manager, as Peters was given the heave in the bottom of the third on a missed call of a pickoff attempt. Peters argument was justifiable, but as is the case with many arguments in baseball, the umpire's decision stood.
Elizabethton scrapped back again in the fourth by collecting four more runs on the heels of five hits. Brandon Cole started the inning off by garnering a single followed by a walk to Jake Peters.
Loving, Peters, and Papantoniou banged out consecutive singles to allow three runs to score. After two straight E-Town strikeouts. C.J. Campbell tagged another single for the final run.
The 'Betsy defense rose to the occasion over the last three Rogersville at-bats, committing no errors while Scalf and Cody Marley shut the door on the Braves down the stretch.
Elizabethton actually had runners on second and third two more times late in he game, but was unable to move the runners across the dish.
Papantoniou finished the game 3-for-4 while Hopson worked his way for a 2-for-3 performance. Jeremy Hall added a single for Elizabethton to round out the 10-hit outing.
After finishing fourth in the state tournament, Elizabethton can take pride in bringing home fourth-place medallions for the USSAA Nationals. The team will be participating in the Amateur Association World Series this weekend at Science Hill.