Tri-Cities squad places strong second in Dizzy Dean tourney

from staff reports

   Two Elizabethton High School baseball players figured prominently in the Tri-Cities Optimist squad that placed second in the Dizzy Dean Senior World Series played in South Haven, Miss. B.J. Miller and Joseph Vines - both entering their senior season's at EHS - were among a solid group of players that dropped two games to the Texas team that went on to capture the title.
   The team was comprised primarily of freshman and sophomore college players along with some graduated high school seniors like Boodle Clark and Jason Spina (Tennessee High) Chad Gillis (Sullivan South) and Unicoi County's Justin Benard.
   Coach Pappy Crowe's team was 27-6 on the season and won the state championship by knocking off Greeneville in two straight contests.
   Tri-Cities dropped the first game of the double elimination tournament to eventual champs Texas, by a 5-4 tally, but bounced back with five consecutive wins to put themselves in the championship game.
   Vines got the start in game four against Alabama, who were 19-0 coming into the contest. Vines allowed just one run on four hits while striking out seven as Tri-Cities toppled 'Bama 5-1. Vines earned his fourth win of the season in the game, leaving him with an unblemished 4-0 mark.
   Justin Benard broke open a 3-3 game against the Virginia contingent with a solo homer in the seventh frame to catapult Tri-Cities to a rematch with the Texas squad that had defeated them earlier in the tournament.
   Miller made a game-saving play from right field in the contest as well, throwing out a Virginia base runner attempting to score from second base, setting the stage for Benard's blast.
   Texas proved to be too much however as they dropped the Optimists 5-1.