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Blue Devils win three straight games

Second baseman Caleb Crain throws to first base against Sevier County. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
Second baseman Caleb Crain throws to first base against Sevier County. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

Three games ended in three victories for the Unicoi County High School varsity baseball team last week.

The Blue Devils (8-4, 4-2) opened the week with an 11-1 victory over Happy Valley in Three Rivers Conference action on Tuesday, March 28.

“We played great tonight,” head coach Chad Gillis said of his team’s performance against the Warriors. “Everything came together in one game and that’s what we have been waiting for.”

Clay Simpson had a standout game for UCHS. The junior pitcher moved to 3-0 on the season with the victory, throwing 9 strikeouts and allowing only 4 hits. He also had a good game in the batter’s box, according to his head coach.

“Clay pitched a great game,” Gillis said. “Clay also had two hits himself, one being a home run.

The whole squad worked hard to get an important conference win.

“When the ball was put in play our defense made the play or got the ball in without damage,” Gillis said. “We had guys step up offensively tonight. We bounced back in a major way after a tough game on the road. I am proud of the way these guys responded and kept the fire to beat Happy Valley the way we did.”

Senior Dylan Putman went 3-for-3 with a home run in the win. Senior Shaddon Peavyhouse also hit a home run and went 2-for-3 with the plate. Junior Owen Nicholson went 3-for-3.

• • •

Sevier County left Erwin with a 6-5 loss on Thursday, March 30.

“Sevier County is a top AAA team and posed a good challenge for us,” Gillis said.

Peavyhouse got his third win of the season with a solid outing, giving up 6 hits and throwing 7 strikeouts.

“It worked out where Peavyhouse was able to pitch this game and he did a tremendous job on the mound,” Gillis said. “Shaddon battled all night with their hitters and we managed to come out on top. We had some defensive blunders, but offensively we got the job done.  We need to continue to challenge ourselves and get better everyday.”

Senior Nick Fender and Putman both went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI.

• • •

The Blue Devils got their second non-conference win of the week on Saturday, April 1, with a 9-6 victory over Tennessee High in Erwin.

Junior pitcher Troy Podvin led UCHS to the victory.

“Troy had a day Saturday against Tennessee High,” Gillis said. “He got the win on the mound and also went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a home run and 3 RBIs.”

The Blue Devils turned in a solid performance on offensive on Saturday.

“We played well offensively against Tennessee High,” Gillis said. “They are another good AAA team and we had to execute offensively to beat them. We bunted for hits multiple times and then had timely hitting from guys to get runners in. It was a back and forth game until the fifth inning and we put multiple runs on the board. The guys never quit and just stuck to the game plan.”

Fender went 2-for-3 and hit his second home run on the season in the game.

Last week’s action showed that his team is going in the right direction, according to the head coach.

“We seem to be getting better every day and that is great to see as a coach,” Gillis said. “We still had some defensive miscues, but are working to get those fixed.”

• • •

The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Elizabethton on Tuesday, April 4, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

They are scheduled to host Sullivan South for a conference game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. The Blue Devils will play in the Chop House Classic from April 6-8. Tournament games are as follows: Thursday at Hunter Wright Stadium against Cherokee at 7:15 p.m.; Friday at Cardinal Park against Greeneville at 5:45 p.m. and Science Hill at 8 p.m.; Saturday at Cardinal Park against Cincinnati Elder at 1:30 p.m.

UCHS will travel to Myrtle Beach to play in the Mingo Bay Classic from April 10-14.

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