Unicoi, Bourbon end each other's perfect seasons

Douglas Fritz • Apr 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

ERWIN — Bourbon County and Unicoi County took turns ending each other's perfect season.

The Blue Devils handed the Colonels their first loss of 2013 with a 10-9 decision in the opener Saturday morning, moving head coach Charlie Baxter to 999 career wins.

In the second game, Bourbon ended Unicoi's undefeated season with a 18-6 mercy-rule decision at Baxter Field. Bourbon improved to 11-1.

The Blue Devils (12-1) will try to get No. 1,000 for Baxter on Monday at home against Elizabethton. Baxter said he hopes the victory milestone isn't distracting his team.

“It's not anything I think about, and I hope they're not thinking about it,” said Baxter. “A game is a game. This team is very good, and it's a special team that works hard and plays hard.

“I hope they can always come out relaxed, have fun, and enjoy the game.”

The Blue Devils jumped out quickly in both games, scoring five times in the bottom of the first inning. They made it stand up in the first contest, even though Bourbon entered having mercy-ruled eight of its 10 opponents this season.

Pitcher Austin Green worked his way through five innings to move his record to 5-0.

“He battled, and we got runs when we needed to get them,” said Baxter. “I thought we had a good approach in both games and put a lot of runs on the board.”

Austin Garrabrant hit a home run leading off the bottom of the first, his third of the season. Green and Connor Simpson later added RBIs.

Ethan Rice crunched a two-run homer — his fifth of the season — and finished the game with three hits. Green totaled two RBIs.

In the second game, Unicoi got an RBI triple from Rice in the bottom of the first. Green later smacked his first homer of the year to cap off the five-run outburst.

Jonathan Davis ripped an RBI singe in the second inning to put Unicoi ahead 6-1.

However, the Colonels took advantage of three straight walks in the third inning, and Tyler Bretz hit a high fly ball over the center field fence for a grand slam to give Bourbon a 7-6 lead.

Nick Wheeler and Charby Pope each hit two-run homers in the Colonels' second straight six-run inning to make it 13-6.

Unicoi threatened to get back in the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases with one out. However, Ryan Lingerfelt's stinging line drive down the left field line was ruled foul by home-plate umpire Dale Ford. Lingerfelt struck out on the next pitch.

The Colonels then added five more runs in the top of the fifth inning.

Baxter said he wasn't worried about pressure building because of the season-opening winning streak.

“I hope we come back strong from this,” said Baxter. “You can learn when you win, and you can learn in defeat. You don't want to lose any time, but I thought we battled just as hard as they did.”

Davis had two hits in game two for Unicoi.

Baxter's career record stands at 999-309.

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