KINGSPORT — Unicoi County picked up an 8-3 District 1-AA baseball championship win over Sullivan South at J. Fred Johnson Stadium on Wednesday night.
Losing a championship ballgame was no fun for Rebels coach Anthony Richardson. But he wasn't going to make matters worse by losing perspective.
"You hate coming in second, but there's a bigger picture than this district tournament," said Richardson, whose team will travel to face Greeneville (23-7) in Monday's Region 1-AA opener.
The top-seeded Rebels (22-10) rode an emotional roller coaster this week, losing to the Blue Devils on Monday then salvaging a regional berth with Tuesday's win over East in the elimination finals.
South had to beat Unicoi County twice in a row to claim the district tournament crown. That would have seemed highly unlikely without at some point leaning on ace Russell Koesters.
Richardson was resolved to let Koesters rest his arm for the remainder of this week. He was not going to unholster his No. 1 gun even in the event of a second game.
If not for a laconic put-out throw attempt in the first inning that gave Connor Simpson an infield RBI single, followed by an outright error to plate another run, Richmond (0-1) appeared capable of getting the Rebels to Thursday.
South evened up the score with two runs the bottom of the first with Chase Fields scoring on a wild pitch and Russell Koesters scoring Caleb Krutak on a sacrifice fly.
Richmond injected some hope by retiring the side in the second, but Unicoi County starter Austin Green (6-3) was just getting warmed up.
Green, who struck out six, was unperturbed by four Unicoi County errors that obviously aggravated Baxter.
Past the stalemated first, Green gave the Blue Devils five shutout innings. He allowed seven hits over his seven-inning shift, allowing none in the second and third frames.
The lone additional run he allowed in the fourth inning scored on an error.
The Blue Devils lineup jumped on Richmond in the third, plating four runs on three hits, including RBI singles from Ryan Lingerfelt and Sam McInturff and a two-RBI single from Will Hubbard.
Unicoi County added two more runs in the fourth against South reliever Brett Ball.
The Blue Devils (26-7) will face Grainger (26-11) at Erwin on Monday.
For an expanded version of this story, see Thursday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.
Read more: Lady Trailblazers, Pioneers squeak out 1-AAA softball wins | Kingsport Times-News http://www.timesnews.net/article/9076586/lady-trailblazers-pioneers-squeak-out-1-aaa-softball-wins#ixzz315oYsKj8
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