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Off the Field – How time flies (March 11, 2015 issue)

The older I get, the more I notice how time flies by in the blink of an eye.
It seems it was only yesterday that I was penning one of these columns about basketball season. Now, high school spring sports seasons have arrived in Unicoi County.
I remember my first year covering events at Bryant Field, Baxter Field, Lady Devil Diamond and Fishery Park … now in just a few months will be my fifth year with the paper.
We aren’t slowing down anytime soon. As spring kicks into full gear, we’ll be providing updates from across the area on middle school and high school athletics and delving into the college ranks of former Blue Devils and Lady Blue Devils making their marks across at the collegiate level.
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The Erwin Knights are not your ordinary semi-professional football team, head coach Andy Slagle explained, being sanctioned by the World Class Football League.
The league offers opportunities for the Knights to compete with nationally-ranked opponents. The team also provides an opportunity for players to pursue other college opportunities, maybe in the same respect as a junior college, with the potential of even Arena Football League scouts in attendance at certain contests.
Slagle’s squad has provided an opportunity for Blue Devils coming out of high school to return to the gridiron.
With the vast improvements being made at the junior football league, the middle school and high school, the Knights add an extra level of excitement for the community for the coming years.
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It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Walters State baseball program, under the guidance of head coach, and former Blue Devil, Dave Shelton.
Shelton’s team recorded a 2-1 series win over Columbia State, which is coached by former Blue Devil Mike Corn, and a pair of recently graduated Blue Devils made some noise for the Senators baseball team.
Austin Green recorded his first collegiate win of the year on March 4 in a 5-0 contest over Spartanburg Methodist on the road. Green came on in relief and pitched a pair of innings, allowing one hit and throwing two strikeouts.
While Green did the work on the mound, Ethan Rice also contributed to the victory with a 1-3 performance at the plate, including an RBI.
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Forme Blue Devil Scott Gibson and the Tusculum Pioneers baseball team have been perfect so far at home. At The Erwin Record’s press deadline, the squad was 9-0 at home and the former Blue Devil played his role to a tee with the team.
As a catcher with the program, Gibson currently sits with a .240 batting average and eight RBIs on the season.