By Tim Chambers
Home standing Johnson County was hoping to bounce back from a 9-8 loss to Blountville on Saturday and avoid being eliminated from the 7-8-year-old Little League All-Star tournament. Unfortunately, one bad inning would decide the outcome.
Daniel Boone overcame a 6-3 deficit to win a hard fought 11-9 contest on Sunday afternoon at Cunningham Park.
It was a nip and tuck affair from the outset as both teams scored three times in their first at-bat.
Grayson Day, Grayson Espinoza and Skyler Gentry all had hits and scored in the first inning. A sharp single by Avery Blevins plated Conner Stout and Eli Tester who had hit safely in the second inning.
Johnson County held Boone scoreless in the second inning thanks to a pair of good defensive gems from shortstop Sawyer Marshall.
Day singled and scored in the third with the help of base hits by Gentry and Marshall. That allowed them to maintain a 6-3 cushion.
But a tidal wave of miscues would sink their ship when Boone came to bat in the bottom half. The boys from Gray scored five times with the help of three errors and a throwing blunder.
Boone led 8-6 at that point.
Johnson County stormed back to tie the game in the fourth. Kyle Maple got things started with an inside-the-park homerun. Dylan Reece singled and later scored on a base hit by Hunter McElyea.
Boone took an 11-8 led in the fifth on a two-run double by Garrison James and an RBI single from Hudson Harwood.
Johnson County needed three runs to tie in their last at-bat but came up two short. They had the tying run on the base but a forced out ended the game.
Day, Espinoza and Tester went 3-3 each to lead Johnson County. Gentry, Bragg, Maple and Reece added two hits apiece. Carter Atwood, Marshall, Stout, Blevins and McElyea collected one each.
Espinoza sparked the defense with a fine catch in centerfield. Marshall and Day had several good plays from their shortstop and second base positions.
Boone advances to play Blountville in the loser’s bracket finals on Monday. Johnson City American stands as the only unbeaten team remaining.