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Metcalf's walk-off lifts Unicoi County over David Crockett

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 12, 2020 at 8:29 PM

ERWIN — Kaleb Metcalf knew he had a job to do for the Unicoi County baseball team.

The junior left fielder hit a walk-off single to right field to lift the Blue Devils to a 7-6 non-conference win over David Crockett on Thursday evening at Baxter Field. Metcalf went 3-for-4 on the day, producing a double and another single.

Up to bat and the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, he saw the perfect pitch to drive in Lucas Slagle for the winning run.

“I knew I had to get a base hit and bring the run in. That was my job,” Metcalf said. “It was a fastball towards the middle and I knew that was the pitch to take. We came in found the pitches we wanted to hit and hit them.”

Both teams produced plenty of offense.

Crockett had 13 hits, including Nolan Miller’s solo home run to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead in the first and Cade Larkins’ shot to left center for a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh. They weren’t able to close the deal, much to the chagrin of Crockett coach Spencer Street.

“That was a scrappy club which put pressure on us all day,” Street said. “We jumped ahead, but let them hang around. We gave them opportunities and they took advantage of it. Nolan Miller, Cade Larkins, Isaac Stephens and Garrett Leonard all had good days, but we have to do better one through nine.”

Stephens and Miller finished with three hits, while Larkins, Leonard and Gavin Cloutier each had two.

Unicoi County countered with 11 hits. Slagle gave the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead in the third inning with a three-run home run as part of a day when he went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. He drove in lead-off batter Gavyn Sawyer for the game-tying run earlier in the third inning.

Sawyer went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and freshman catcher Valentine Batrez also went 2-for-4.

Jordan Bridges gave up five runs and 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Ramon Avila (1-0) got the win, giving up one run and two hits over 1 1/3 innings.

It has been an up-and-down week for the Blue Devils, who split with Three Rivers Conference foe Sullivan East in Monday and Tuesday games and then learned the bad news that star player Peyton Whitson is out 3-4 weeks with a leg injury.

“Today was just our day, base hits all over the field,” Unicoi County coach Chad Gillis said. “We were hitting all fields. We put a safety squeeze down and a freshman scored. I can’t give enough credit to those guys. Batrez was great behind the plate and we had good pitching with Bridges.

“Slagle came up and did what he did offensively. Metcalf had the big hit for us. They played with a lot of confidence and played hard.”

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