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Blue Devils topple conference foes

By Curtis Carden
Sports Writer
[email protected]
The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil baseball team (5-5) (3-3) kicked off a busy week with a trip to Happy Valley on Monday, March 26, to face Caleb Moore’s Warrior baseball program.
Happy Valley took the early lead in the bottom of the third inning, 1-0, due to a throwing error, but couldn’t hold back a four-run rally which put the Devils in the lead permanently.
Sophomore Ethan Rice (2-0) recorded the win for the Devils on the mound.
“We just wanted to start off the week on the right note,” the sophomore pitcher explained. “We have a busy week, it’s big to get the win.”
Justin Norris picked up the loss on the mound for Happy Valley, but held the Devils in check only allowing two hits over five runs until the sixth inning.
“(Norris) really did a good job of throwing against us tonight,” coach Charlie Baxter said. “We could've hit the ball better, but it was a good win to start off the week.”
Happy Valley struck gold in the bottom of the third when Justin Reagan led off with a infield single and would later score when Justin Maupin advanced to first on a throwing error.
“I think it was a big shock to our team when we got out in front against Unicoi,” Moore said of his team’s effort. “They have such a historic program. The difference was that they came up in key situation and got the key hits and we didn’t.”
Ryan Lingerfelt put the Devils back into the game in the top of the fourth, ripping a double from his clean-up spot in the batting rotation. Lingerfelt later scored on a fielder’s choice to knot up the game, 1-1.
In the top of the second inning Timmy Graham advanced on base with a walk. Rice would drive him home on a shot to left-centerfield that put the Devils’ pitcher on second base and the Devils on top, 2-1.
“It was right down the middle, a perfect pitch to hit,” Rice said.
Garrabrant wrapped up the scoring in the inning with a RBI single to put the Devils on top 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.
Happy Valley threatened the Devils’ lead in the inning, getting the bases juiced with only one out. Baxter then turned to his junior lefty, Jonathon Davis.
Two strikeouts later, the Devils would be going to the top on the seventh unscatched.
“I was told just to throw strikeouts,” Davis, who picked up the save, said . “We’ve got a good pitching staff and we just wanted to get the momentum going into tomorrow’s game against North.”
Lingerfelt drove in Hunter Burnett to give the Devils their final run of the game. UCHS won the game 4-1.

For the remainder of this article please pick up the April 3 2012 edition of The Erwin Record.