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It wasn’t easy, but the Kingston AAA All-Stars earned a spot in next week’s Dixie Youth AAA State Tournament with a second place finish in the Dixie Youth District 8 AAA Tournament that concluded Wednesday in Harriman.
Kingston finished the three-game round robin tournament with a 2-1 record and that was one game behind tournament champion Tellico Plains. The Jackets lost their tournament opener 5-1 against Tellico Plains om Saturday, but Kingston bounced back Tuesday with an 8-0 victory over Spring City.
Tuesday’s victory set up a showdown on Wednesday with Madisonville in which the winner would earn a berth in the state tournament.
Six innings proved insufficient to decide the contest, but Kingston scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning and then held off a furious Madisonville rally in the bottom of the inning to pick up a 16-12 victory.
Tellico Plains vs.
There wasn’t a lot of offense in Saturday’s opener, but Tellico Plains put together one big inning to secure the 5-1 victory.
Abby Wilson single and scored Kingston’s only run of the contest in the first inning.
That lead stood until the fifth inning, but Tellico Plains took advantage of four hits and three walks in the frame to score five runs.
Besides Wilson, Christian Reel, Brandon Plemens, Wade Gargan and Nathan Jones had hits on the day for Kingston.
Kingston vs. Spring City
There would be no lack of offense for Kingston in Tuesday’s game with Spring City as the Jackets scored five runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back on their way to the 8-0 victory.
Reel, Plemens, Wilson, Colt Clements and Wade Gargan all scored runs for Kingston in the big first inning.
Those five runs proved more than enough for Gargan on the mound as the right-hander tossed a complete-game five-hit shutout with seven strikeouts past the Bulldogs.
Kingston scored their final three runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Reel opened the inning with a double and he scored on a single from Plemens. Plemens scored on a triple from Nikolas Smith then Smith scored on a double from Gargan to put the finishing touches on the victory.
Reel (3-4, 1 2B, 2 runs), Plemens (4-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 runs) and Gargan (2-3, 1 2B, 2 RBIs, 1 run) had multiple hits on the day for Kingston.
Wednesday’s game was a nail biter as Kingston never trailed, but needed extra innings to fight off a tough squad from Monroe County.
Kingston took an early 3-0 lead when Smith, Gargan and Elijah Reeder scored in the top of the second inning, but Madisonville scored two runs in the third inning and another in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3.
Kingston regained the lead in the fifth inning when Gargan doubled and scored on a single from Jones.
Kingston took a seemingly safe 7-3 lead with three more runs in the top of the sixth inning. Reel, Plemens and Smith scored the runs.
Madisonville, however, wouldn’t go away as the Tornadoes turned three hits and one walk into four runs that tied the score at 7-7 and sent the game into extra innings.
Madisonville’s momentum didn’t last long, however, as Kingston sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh inning and scored nine runs.
Jones led the assault with two runs scored while Benji Headrick ripped two triples and scored a run in the frame. Reel, Plemens, Wilson, Clements, Gargan and Reeder also scored in the inning for Kingston.
Madisonville, however, rallied again and would have the tying run at the plate when Kingston finally recorded the final out to preserve the 16-12 victory.