Ron's Masonry has just enough to beat Empire   

By Adam Buckles
STAR Correspondent

  Ron's Masonry finished its season on a high note Wednesday night, as it defeated Mountain Empire 5-4 in the Carter County Minor League baseball championship.
  It was a pitchers' duel between Mountain Empire's Logan Simmons and Ron's Lucas Hitechew.
  Mountain Empire looked to take an early lead in the top of the first when Thomas Elliott singled and stole second, but Hitechew battled back and caught a line drive from Simmons to get the out and caught Elliott off the bag for the double play.
  From there, Andrew Baumgardner singled into right field, then gambled and was thrown out by the right fielder.
  In the bottom half of the frame, Simmons walked the first two batters he faced, then he bowed his neck to strike out the next three he faced to get out of the inning.
  Mountain Empire took the first lead of the contest in the third, when Austin Arrowood walked, then Trey Denis moved him over on a sacrifice. Later, Aaron Bunton doubled to center to plate Arrowood.
  Bunton attempted to score from second, when Elliott singled, but Ron's first baseman Matthew Potter threw Bunton out at the plate to stop the rally.
  Mountain Empire had the advantage, 1-0, after two and a half.
  Ron's rally in the third, was all it needed. It all started when Logan Morrison singled, then scored on a theft. Then a Tyler Shell walk brought home Mechie Cordell, Hitechew walked in Banner, Danny Arnett walked in Potter, and Russell Morrison walked in Shell to give the team a 5-1 advantage after three frames of baseball.
  Mountain Empire did not quit. In the top of the fourth, Cody Sparks doubled to start the inning, then was moved over on a Dylan Bowers' sac.
  Austin Mullins took a free pass to the diamond before Arrowood plated Bowers and Mullins on an error for two more scores. Bunton later plated Arrowood on an error, but Hitechew battled back and finalized the win, and most importantly the title.
  "They just knew they had to score and we did, and we played really excellent tonight," stated Ron's skipper Thomas Buchanan, who was pleased.
  Hitechew was good for a complete game, walking three, striking out four and scattering four hits.
  "We just did what we could and we were behind, and we battled back and played great," he said.
  Mountain Empire was led by Elliott with two rips, along with Baumgardner, Sparks and Bunton chipping in one apiece.
  "Our pitching laid down tonight, and that inning really hurt us, but overall I thought we played good," said Mountain Empire coach Mark Simmons.
  Simmons was credited the loss in the hard-fought contest. He walked five, struck out seven and allowed one hit, which came from Morrison.