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Baseball team defeats conference foes

Junior Owen Nicholson slides into second base against Johnson County. (Photo contributed by Adam Campbell)
Junior Owen Nicholson slides into second base against Johnson County. (Photo contributed by Adam Campbell)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School baseball team fought hard, but couldn’t get a There Rivers Conference win on Monday, March 27.

Playing at Sullivan East, the Blue Devils (5-4, 3-2) were held scoreless as the Patriots earned a 1-0 win.

“We competed against Sullivan East,” head coach Chad Gillis said. “We made plays defensively and showed a lot of effort. We struggled at the plate. We had four hits and runners at third three straight innings, we just couldn’t get any across the plate.”

Junior pitcher Caleb Wilson threw a solid game for UCHS, according to Gillis.

“Caleb battled for seven innings,” he added. “He gave us a great chance to win; we just didn’t capitalize offensively.”

Senior Shaddon Peavyhouse led the Blue Devils at the plate, going 2-for-3.

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Non-conference opponents Morristown East and Daniel Boone got the best of the Blue Devils over the weekend. Playing at East on Saturday, March 25, UCHS fell 11-2.

“We struggled all around this game,” Gillis said. “We couldn’t seem to find grass on offense and defensively, we kicked the ball around all day.”

Standing out for the Blue Devils in the game was the pitching performance of junior Troy Podvin, who also hit a homerun in the game. Wilson had the other RBI for UCHS against East. Junior Owen Nicholson, senior Justin Laughren and Peavyhouse each had one hit in the game.

Despite scoring 3 runs in the first inning, the Blue Devils couldn’t hold on to get a win over Boone on Friday, March 24. The Trailblazers came from behind to win the game 8-4.

“We hit the ball well this game,” Gillis said. “We just couldn’t find a hole.

Peavyhouse went 3-for-4 at the plate in the game. Senior Nick Fender, Laughren (1 RBI), junior Hunter Higgins (1 RBI) and senior Cameron Spires had 1 hit each. Senior Dylan Putman and Podvin each had an RBI.

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The Blue Devils got two important conference wins last week. On Tuesday, March 21, they defeated Johnson County 10-0; they defeated Sullivan North 3-0 the following day.

“We did everything well against Johnson County,” Gillis said. “We had a dominant performance from Shaddon on the mound and we totaled 11 hits with two of those being home runs.”

Peavyhouse pitched 4 innings and had 6 strikeouts. Putman and Laughren each hit a homerun in the game.

“It was good to see Dylan and Justin open up on balls and a good pitching performance,” Gillis said of the win.

The Blue Devils got an excellent pitching performance from junior Clay Simpson against Sullivan North.

“Clay’s outing was incredible,” Gillis said. “He threw a no-hitter and just dominated the entire game. It was really exciting to watch him pitch. Clay will be pivotal in our success this season.”

Offensively, the Blue Devils struggled a little, but made plays when they needed to to get the 3-0 victory.

“Their pitcher kept us off balance,” Gillis said. “We have to be able to make an adjustment at the plate to beat the top teams in our conference. We got bunts down when we needed to. We struggled to get the ball in play, but did whatever it took to win the game.”

UCHS opened last week with an 8-2 loss at Sullivan South on March 20.

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The Blue Devils hosted Happy Valley on Tuesday, March 28, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

They are scheduled to host Sevier County at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, Tennessee High at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, and Elizabethton at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4.