E-National falls in Arthur Lady championship

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com
Cinderella would have been hurting if she had decided to catch the Arthur Lady 9 and 10-year-old Invitational championship on Friday night in Johnson City.
With the final out being recorded five minutes past midnight, the Johnson City National team managed to escape with a hard-fought 12-10 decision over the Elizabethton National team at Arthur Lady Field.
"These guys played awesome tonight," stated a tired and weary National manager Richard Sheffield. "They sucked it up and never gave up regardless of what the score was."
Johnson City blazed out to a 7-0 lead after one and one half innings of play on five hits. Elizabethton wasn't about to roll over and play dead, as it dented the scoreboard for five runs in the bottom of the second.
Zack Miller walked, Tyler Whitlock reached on a booted ball and Lucas Birchfield drew another base-on-balls to load the bases.
A Brooks Cochran single scored Miller, with Stacey Sheffield stepping up and drilling a two-run double. Casey Sheffield helped his pitching cause by pasting another double, scoring two more National runners.
It appeared that Johnson City was going to dance away with the title as it added a single run in the third, three in the fourth, and one in the fifth to take a commanding 12-5 edge.
The game had a little of everything during the middle stages as the Elizabethton National squad protested the use of the Johnson City's team ace, due to pitching limitations.
After a brief respite and some barbs exchanged in the stands, the game resumed with no protest being declared by the home plate umpire. Another delay was experienced when Johnson City first baseman Devin Jackson had to be taken off the field after taking a pitch on the elbow.
A local doctor confirmed the young man may have suffered a fracture to the elbow area and was sent to the hospital for x-rays.
After holding firm against Johnson City in the top of the sixth and final frame, Elizabethton had one last rally left.
Birchfield walked to begin the inning and advanced to third on two passed balls. Stacey Sheffield walked and Casey Sheffield picked up his second two-run double of the contest to close the gap to 12-7.
Sheffield came home on a wild pitch to make the score 12-8. C.J. Bowling drew a walk as did Seth Fleenor to load the bases once again.
Taylor Gouge spanked a ball deep to the fence for the inning's second two-run double to close the gap to 12-10. Gouge advanced to third as JC National tried to nab Fleenor at home.
With the tying run at the plate, Johnson City finally managed to corral the Elizabethton National team by retiring Elizabethton on a groundout to the pitcher to bring an end to the marathon tournament finale.
"We were just glad to be here," stated Coach Sheffield after the game. "We didn't really expect to make it this far, but the kids just played their hearts out. I am really proud of the whole team."
Game 1
Elizabethton.................7
Johnson City ................5
Elizabethton battled and battled before managing to take the all-important game to have the opportunity to play for the big trophy.
Taylor Gouge showed the heart of a lion as the youngster battled hard on the mound, giving up 11 walks but only two hits to help keep the JC team off balance until Casey Sheffield could finish it up in the final inning.
Trailing 4-3 going into the bottom of inning number five, the Elizabethton squad rallied to plate four runs and take a 7-4 lead into the top of the sixth.
Big hits in the inning for Elizabethton National was a Casey Sheffield shot that missed by centimeters of being a three-run home run, a C.J. Bowling single, and another monster shot from Seth Fleenor for a triple that drove in two runs.
Devin White and McClain Graybeal notched the only two hits for JC while Zack Miller and Cody Hill added singles to go along with two hits from Casey Sheffield and Bowling.
Stacey Sheffield added a double for the Elizabethton Nationals as well.