Unicoi Co. holds off Elizabethton National

By Tim Chambers

   Baseball is known as America's pastime. Wednesday night's game between Unicoi and Elizabethton National would have made Abner Doubleday proud.
   In a game where every kid put it on the line, Unicoi held off a last-inning charge by Elizabethton National to win 4-3 in a slugfest that wasn't decided until the final out.
   The game was a pitchers' duel between Unicoi's D.W. Whitson and Elizabethton National's Drew Chambers. Whitson gave up two runs over five innings while Chambers held the Blue Devils to one until a wild and whacky sixth inning decided the outcome.
   Unicoi took a 1-0 lead in the second on singles from D.W. Whitson and Charlie English, but Chambers was able to record two strikeouts to end the rally for the Devils.
   Elizabethton took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Jake Hodge ripped a triple to deep center field that scored Davis, and later came home on a groundout by Matt Febuary. After a Chambers single, Whitson struck out the next batter to end the inning.
   Whitson was the recipient of a great defensive play when shortstop Logan Rice robbed Guinn by diving fully extended to snare a line drive and prevent Drew Clark, who had singled and stole second in the fifth, from scoring.
   Chambers got a great defensive stop by Hodge at third to end a Unicoi scoring threat with two on.
   Unicoi tied the game in sixth when Seth Whitson took a Chambers fast ball over the center-field wall that seem to pump up the Devils. Chambers gave way to Ethan Fleenor after another single by Rice with the scored tied at two.
   After an error, Wesley Clark drilled a double that hit chalk down the right-field line, putting Unicoi in front 4-2.
   Elizabethton National mounted one last comeback when Davis singled while Hodge walked after fouling off nine pitches. Davis scored on a steal attempt, but the runner was thrown out at second.
   Chambers singled to left with two outs, but Whitson got the next batter on a strikeout ending a great Little League game.
   Whitson gave up seven hits, struck out 10 while walking only two in six innings. Chambers issued only one walk and five hits while striking out seven in five innings of work.
   Hodge, 2 for 2, and Chambers, 2 for 3, topped the hitting department while Guinn, Davis and Clark had one each. Rice, D.W. Whitson, English, Clark and Tolley had singles for Unicoi, with the only extra base hit being the home run from Seth Whitson.
   "This team will come back and play hard tomorrow night," stated Elizabethton head coach B.J. Guinn. "We've just got to hit the ball better and play with more emotion. Give Unicoi credit. They played a very good game."
   Elizabethton National was without the services of Chase Depew, who was hurt in a jet ski accident Monday afternoon. The entire team and coaching staff wishes to send out their prayers to Chase for a speedy recovery.
   Bristol Western 12
   Johnson County 9
   Bristol Western erupted for nine runs in the first two innings to earn a win in the second game of the evening. T.J. Simmons pitched the win while Cody Greer took the loss.
   Eric Cullop, 4 for 4, and Greer, 3 for 3, topped the hitting department for Johnson County while Daniel Parker chipped in with a 2-for-4 performance.
   Elizabethton National will take on Bristol Western tonight at 7 at T.J. Burleson Field.