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Unicoi County pulls away from Longhorns

Douglas Fritz • May 4, 2019 at 6:16 PM

MILLIGAN COLLEGE — If Unicoi County is going to make postseason noise, good pitching performances are on the to-do list.

Sophomore Jordan Bridges took care of his chores, missing a complete game by one pitch as Unicoi County defeated Johnson County 7-2 in the District 1-AA baseball tournament at Anglin Field on Saturday.

Blue Devils head coach Chad Gillis said he liked what he saw from his team before it even arrived at the game.

“They were really excited this morning,” said Gillis. “I felt good with the tone they set the first thing this morning.”

The Blue Devils, a traditional postseason power, improved to 11-17 on the season. They advanced to the winners’ bracket semifinals and will meet Elizabethton on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.

Johnson County (12-9) fell into the losers’ bracket and will take on Happy Valley in an elimination game at 5 p.m.

Sunday’s first game is Sullivan South versus Sullivan East in a winner’s bracket game at noon. East defeated Happy Valley 3-2 on Saturday.

GOOD ON THE MOUND

Bridges, a sophomore, kept Johnson County from getting things together.

He pitched out of runner-in-scoring-position situations in each of the first three innings while his team built a 4-0 lead.

“I was hitting my spots, and I had several pitches as backups if my fastball wasn’t working,” Bridges said.

Bridges lasted until the top of the seventh inning, when Gillis removed him with two strikes on the batter because of the pitch count.

“I was hoping to finish,” said Bridges. “I had one pitch left. But we closed it out and that’s all that matters.”

Gillis said Bridges spots the ball well.

“He has a good breaking ball and keeps everybody off balance,” said Gillis. “He has three pitches, but sometimes we don’t show all three. I think he made it through the game on two today.”

UNICOI AT THE PLATE

L.J. Mitchell put the Blue Devils on top with an RBI single in the second inning. Brett Strother had an RBI single in the third while Garrett Manuel added a sacrifice fly.

Ramon Avila had an RBI hit in the fourth.

Strother finished with three hits while Mitchell had two.

FOR THE LONGHORNS

Bradley Lavorsi had an RBI hit in the fourth inning. Ethan Icenhour drove in the other run.

Jayden Joiner finished with two hits as did Lavorsi and Icenhour.

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