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Blue Devils shut out Boone

Defense and timely hitting were the name of the game for the Unicoi County High School baseball team last week.
The Blue Devils laced hits at the right time and used a shutout performance from Dylan Putman on the mound to secure a 3-0 victory over Daniel Boone in non-conference action on Thursday, April 9, in Erwin.
The win moved the Blue Devils record to 9-5 on the year with a 5-3 mark inside the Three Rivers Conference.
Against Boone, UCHS banked on key defensive plays in the infield from third baseman Gabe Thomas, first baseman Will Collins, catcher Hunter Higgins, second baseman Nathan Derry, and shortstop Shaddon Peavyhouse, who added a leaping grab late in the game, to help keep the Trailblazers off the scoreboard.
“I’m glad we were on our home field,” Peavyhouse said, who helped orchestrate some double plays. “We went over there and did well, but were able to make the routine plays here. We just want to keep working, perfecting things … there’s always work to be done.”
Peavyhouse got the Blue Devils going early on the offensive side of the ball, knocking in Nick Fender on a fielder’s choice. Sam McInturff also raced home on a passed ball to give UCHS an early 2-0 lead.
Runs came early for head coach Chad Gillis’ crew. McInturff added a sacrifice-RBI in the second inning, accounting for the Blue Devils run total. The defense then held Boone in check the rest of the way.
“We played well defensively,” Gillis said. “I don’t recall any errors and that’s what killed us against South. We responded well … we talked about that on the way home. That shows a lot about a team, how you responded after a loss.
“We got the hits when we needed them, but I like the 13-14 hits better, but in the end, it is just about winning. I just want to have the most runs at the end. We missed some opportunities, we left around nine on base. The hitting has been going up and down, but we’re going to go back and work at it and get ready for next week.”
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The Blue Devils were in a position to get a win on the road against the league-leading Sullivan South Rebels, but costly errors proved to be too much to overcome in a 7-3 decision on Wednesday, April 8, in Kingsport. The game was moved from Tuesday due to rain.
Peavyhouse got the ball rolling for UCHS with a three-RBI double in the top of the third and helped McInturff’s effort on the mound. The senior struck out seven through the night and walked three.
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The Blue Devils used a stalwart six-RBI performance from Will Hubbard and a three-RBI performance from Putman in a vital 10-5 decision over Elizabethton on Monday, April 6, at Joe O’Brien Field.
While the game was an important one for the team, it was about having fun, according to a tired Hubbard after the contest.
“It was a great win,” he said, cracking a smile. “We came out and wanted to get the job done.”
Hubbard was also on the tail end of highlight-worthy dives in centerfield.
“He’s just an athlete,” Gillis said of Hubbard. “You get the win, plate six RBIs and play defense like that … have yourself a day, kid.”
It was a nice bounce back, coming off a shutout to Pigeon Forge the previous weekend.
“We went back to not hitting,” Gillis said. “It is about adjustments, and we play well on a big field. We capitalize on their mistakes and had key hits at the right time.”
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The Blue Devils’ contest against Bourbon, Ky., scheduled for Saturday, April 11, was canceled due to scheduling conflicts with the out-of-state team. No make up date was announced.
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UCHS opened this week against Sullivan East on Tuesday, April 14, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
The Blue Devils end the week with a busy stretch in the Coke Tournament hosted by Dobyns-Bennett. The Blue Devils are scheduled to open tournament play on Thursday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. at Dobyns-Bennett. The team will turn around for two games at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 17, at Hunter Wright Stadium and end the stretch on Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. contest at Tennessee High.
The Blue Devils’ pool of opponents features Sevier County, Sullivan Central, Abingdon and Greeneville.