L.J. Mitchell fields a ground ball at third base. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

Another regular season is almost in the books for the Unicoi County High School baseball team.

The Blue Devils (10-16, 5-7) played their last Three Rivers Conference series of the season against the Johnson County Longhorns on Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 24.

Playing in Erwin on Tuesday, the Longhorns broke open a scoreless game with a couple of timely hits in the top of the fourth inning. Compiling the problems for the Blue Devils were a couple of walks and errors.

The Blue Devils managed to put one run across the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, but that would be their only score of the game and Johnson County won 5-1.

Peyton Whitson (4-3) took the loss on the mound, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and striking out 9.

“I thought Peyton did well outside of the fourth inning,” Blue Devil head coach Chad Gillis said.

Brett Strother was 2-4. Jordan Bridges, Whitson, Drew Keasling and L.J. Mitchell each had 1 hit.

The next day, the Longhorns bested the Blue Devils again, this time by the score of 11-5.

“We started out the game by capitalizing on their mistakes, scoring 3 in the second inning,” Gillis said. “They put together some hits in the bottom of the second to go up 4-3. We made a mental mistake to extend an inning where they ended up scoring 4 more runs.”

Metcalf took the loss on the mound. Ramon Avila, Whitson, Metcalf and Garrett Manuel had 1 hit each.

The Blue Devils finished the conference schedule in fifth place with a record of 5-7. The conference standings ended as follows: Elizabethton in first place at 12-0; Sullivan South in second at 9-3; Sullivan East in third at 8-4; Johnson County in fourth at 5-6; UCHS fifth at 5-7; Happy Valley in sixth at 1-10; and Sullivan Central in seventh at 1-11.

The District 1-AA tournament begins this week. The Blue Devils will face Johnson County on Friday, May 3, at Elizabethton Twins Field beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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One of the final games of the regular season for the Blue Devils was a 3-0 non-conference loss at Dobyns-Bennett on Monday, April 29.

Metcalf took the loss on the mound, but pitched well, according to his head coach.

“Kaleb did well on the mound to hold DB to 3 runs,” Gillis said. “He gives a chance when he is on the mound.”

Unfortunately, the Blue Devils couldn’t get anything going offensively.

“We faced some Division 1 arms that we really haven’t seen this year and they put us down quick,” Gillis said. “We got some guys on base, but just couldn’t get them across the plate.”

The Blue Devils were scheduled to wrap up the regular season on Tuesday, April 30, at Science Hill.