Warriors season brought to an end by Blue Devils

Published 8:32 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019



JOHNSON CITY— After staving off Johnson County to stay alive in the District 1-AA baseball tournament, the Warriors needed another great effort to advance in the tournament facing off against Unicoi County.

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With Happy Valley playing the visitor, Romon Avila took the mound for the Blue Devils and was greeted immediately by Jacob Absher with a bunt single for the Warriors.

On the next pitch, Dylan Willis would hit a shot down the left field line for a double and Absher advanced to third on the hit.

Zac Workman’s sacrifice fly to left field brought Absher home for a score while Willis stayed put at second giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the first inning.

Eli Reece gained the start on the mound for Happy Valley.

Brett Strother advanced to second on an infield error by the Warriors. The next batter, Garret Manuel, cranked the ball to the wall for an RBI double making it a tie ballgame at one apiece. The inning would end there for the Blue Devils.

In the top of the second inning, Absher worked a walk followed by a single off the bat of Willis allowing Absher to advance to third base. That would be all the Warriors could come up with leaving runners stranded in scoring position.

A Strother’s fielder’s choice gave Unicoi Co. a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the frame. The Devils had more to give as Jordan Bridges scored on a wild pitch pushing the edge to 3-1 in favor of the Blue Devils heading into the fourth frame of play.

Avila was doing everything right on the mound as the Warriors were barely able to get hits as they did in the first inning as Happy Valley couldn’t cut into the two-run deficit in their half of the fourth inning.

The Blue Devils kept the pressure on in the bottom of the inning as Strother pasted a triple giving Peyton Whitson an easy path to home plate adding another run to the Unicoi Co. side of the board making it a 4-1 advantage.

The Warriors changed pitchers electing to call upon Hunter Smith.

Strother did even more damage by scoring on a wild pitch extending the lead 5-1. The Warriors brought the Devils run to an end there.

After going scoreless once more in their at-bat, the Warriors turned to Bart Wilson in the bottom of the sixth inning to finish out the game from the pitching rubber.

The Blue Devils loaded the bases making way Peyton Whitson who delivered a bases-clearing triple to give the Blue Devils an 8-1 cushion.

The Blue Devils ended the Warriors season by getting the last three outs of the contest.

After the game Coach Brad Hill had only great things to say about his adversity-filled team.

“I’m really proud of the guys—they showed a lot of toughness,” stated Hill. “They never made a single excuse when they had plenty of chances to do so.

“We had a team joke all year that we were the Road Warriors this year because we played every game at someone else’s ballpark. They really fought through that.”