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By BRODY JONES
The first three days of play would be good ones for the Kingston AAA All-Stars as the Jackets are undefeated and close to securing a berth in the Dixie Youth District 8 Tournament that starts Friday in Rockwood.
Kingston opened play Friday with a 12-6 victory over Oak Ridge American then the Jackets downed Caryville on Saturday, 7-1. Kingston had a battle on their hands Monday, but the Jackets came out with a big 5-4 victory over previously undefeated Spring City.
The road has been a little tougher for Harriman. The Devils dropped their opening game against Caryville on Friday, 10-0, but Harriman bounced back Saturday with a 10-8 victory over Oak Ridge. On Monday, the Devils kept their season alive with a wild 17-14 victory over Oak Ridge National.
Kingston and Harriman played each other Tuesday in an elimination game for Harriman.
Kingston vs. Oak Ridge American
The Kingston Yellow Jackets drew one step closer to the championship game with a 12-6 win over Oak Ridge Friday afternoon.
Kingston started things off in the top of the first with a parade of runs coming across the plate, taking an early 8-0 lead.
Oak Ridge got on the board in the bottom of the second with a pair of runs, then added three more in the third inning, but just as it appeared that Mr. Momentum may have been changing his address to Oak Ridge, Kingston came alive in the top of the fifth with a couple of runs along with Oak Ridge scoring one to make the game 10-6.
In the final inning of play, Kingston added a couple of insurance runs to take a 12-6 win.
Three Kingston pitchers, Brandon Skipper, Riley Adcock and Logan Corum, combined for a one-hitter with six strikeouts in the win.
Skipper led the way offensively with a pair of singles and two RBIs.
Harriman vs. Caryville
For Harriman, the AAA Dixie Youth Baseball tournament at Drack Langley Field got off on the wrong foot with the Devils being shutout by Caryville, 10-0.
Caryville set the tone early with an early run coming home in the first inning. All was quiet until the third inning when the Caryville offense awakened their bats from slumber and marched in seven runs to take an 8-0 lead. Caryville added a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take a 10-0 victory home in the first round of the tournament.
Caryville’s Ethan Jeffers tossed a no-hitter in the win while Harriman’s Dylan Murray had five strikeouts in the loss.
Harriman vs. Oak Ridge American
It was a roller coaster ride for Harriman Saturday as the Blue Devils blew a five-run lead at one point only to win the game in extra innings, 10-8, to keep their tournament aspirations alive and well.
Harriman started things off with a five-run explosion in the first inning and the Americans scored a run to make it 5-1 at the end of the first inning.
In the bottom of the second, Oak Ridge brought home a run. In the next inning, Harri-man padded their lead by a run, scoring two compared to Oak Ridge’s one run. The Americans fought back tough, to cut the gap to 8-6 after the fourth inning.
All was quiet until the bottom of the sixth inning when Oak Ridge sent home a pair of runs to tie the game up and send it to extra innings.
Harriman, however, sent home a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 10-8 lead and held on for the win.
Jacob Nelson started the game for the Devils, pitching the first two innings throwing eight strikeouts, giving up three hits and two runs. Nelson also had two doubles and two RBIs.
Bobby Jackson would get credit for the win for the Devils with one strikeout plus he had a single and a double along with an RBI.
Other base hits came from Christian Aydelotte with a single and Matthew Johnson with a two-run triple.
Kingston vs. Caryville
The Yellow Jackets kept alive their run toward the Dixie Youth AAA State Tournament with a dominating showing against the Caryville All-Stars, emerging with a 7-1 win Saturday night.
Things started off with Kingston pushing home a run courtesy of a Brandon Skipper single and a runner stealing home to take an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Kingston struck once again in the top of the third with Seth Haynes and Skipper each driving in runs to take a 4-0 lead. Then, in the top of the fifth inning Kingston sent home another pair of runs thanks to a sacrifice RBI by Noah Cash and a wild pitch.
Caryville pushed home a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut the gap to 6-1, but Riley Adcock added some insurance to the Jackets big win with an RBI single to take home a 7-1 win.
Haynes and Skipper each had multiple hits with Haynes getting a triple and an RBI while Skipper had two singles and two RBIs. Others with base hits included Riley Adcock, Nick Leisure, Chris Merryman and Noah Cash.
The Jackets pitching was superb on the night with Logan Corum getting credit for the win pitching the first two innings with one strikeout. Drew Johnson got the save for the Jackets, throwing two innings and striking out five batters.
Harriman vs. Oak Ridge National
This was not a game for the faint of heart.
Harriman had an early six run lead, but saw it fade away, only to comeback for a 17-14 win over Oak Ridge in a game that had more up and down moments than a ride on Dollywood’s “Tennessee Tornado”.
Harriman started things off with a six-run outburst in the top of the opening inning with RBIs coming in from a single from Jo Jo Luna and a pair of RBIs from a Matthew Johnson single.
The Nationals scored a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Harriman then got RBIs off of a double from Alex Chesser and a single from Luna in the top of the second inning to take an 8-2 lead, but Oak Ridge scored a run in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit to 8-3.
Harriman scored another run in the top of the third, but the Nationals closed out the inning with a pair of runs. The next inning saw those results duplicated to make the score 10-7.
Harriman got a run across in the top of the fifth, but it seemed like the wheels were about to fall off the victory wagon when Oak Ridge rallied with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 12-11 lead.
Harriman, in a tremendous show of perseverance, fought back with six runs in the top of the sixth.
Oak Ridge got two runs across the plate in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn’t enough as Harriman kept their Dixie Youth State Tournament hopes alive as Harriman pulled out the 17-14 win.
Dylan Murray pitched the first four innings for Harriman with six strikeouts, but it was Christian Aydelotte with credit for the win, going two innings with six strikeouts.
Leading the Devils at the plate was Issac Kerley with three singles and two RBIs. Also with multiple hits were Christian Smith and Jo Jo Luna, who had two RBIs.
Kingston vs. Spring City
While fans of offensive baseball went home pleased with the first game at Darrell “Drack” Langley Field, fans of defensive baseball went home happy with the second game as the Kingston Yellow Jackets prevailed in a defensive 5-4 thriller.
Kingston set the tempo early on with an early run to take a 1-0 lead. They added a run in the next inning to take a 2-0 lead. All was quiet until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Spring City All-Stars got on the board, making the score 2-1.
The real drama, however, was yet to come.
After Kingston brought home three runs to take a seemingly secure 5-1 lead to the bottom of the sixth inning, leave it up to a very tenacious and determined Spring City squad to make the Jackets fight for the win.
Spring City got three runs across and had the bases loaded with two outs left in the game when Brandon Skipper struck out the Spring City batter and preserved his team’s undefeated record in this tournament with a 5-4 win.
Drew Johnson got credit for the win, going two innings, giving up no hits and striking out five batters. Johnson also led all batters at the plate with a pair of singles.
Seth Haynes and Trey Key had doubles for the Jackets while Chris Merryman had an RBI single and Logan Corum had a two-run single to provide offensive support in the win.