Through two and a half innings, the only success either Eagle Center or Unicoi had at the plate was through errors or walks. That all changed in the bottom of the third.
Eagle Center tallied six runs on five hits, including a two-run inside-the-park homer from Darion Simerly, to key a 14-4 victory over the Devils in Tuesday’s Babe Ruth tilt at Elizabethton High School.
Unicoi also lost the nightcap, falling 10-5 to Horace Mann.
“We got a few key hits there,” said Eagle Center coach Scott Simerly of the opener. “A couple of nice shots into the outfield. It just happened to be some of my fastest runners too, so they were able to get around the base pads pretty quick.
“Their pitchers were throwing strikes all night long, all we had to do was hit the ball. It was a good night at the plate for us. Just every kid up there put the ball in play tonight.”
Eagle Center tallied 10 hits on the night, led by a three-hit outing from Justin Maupin who scored three times and drove one run across the plate.
Garrett Hartley added two hits and two RBI, while Chase Markland, Malik Campbell and Simerly each scored three times on the night. Brian Sehrer reached four times, twice on errors, with one hit, scoring three times with an RBI.
Hartley picked up the win on the mound for Eagle Center, striking out seven, allowing four runs on four hits with seven walks and a hit batter.
“He did a great job,” Simerly said. “His fast ball isn’t the fastest thing in the world, but when he throws that off-speed stuff they just couldn’t do anything with it. It was a well-played game all the way around for us tonight.”
Unicoi starter Corey Hatcher, who dealt the first four runs, took the loss on the mound after giving up four hits. He was relieved in the third by Luis Reynoso, who gave up 10 runs on six hits with four walks.
Aside from the six-run third, Eagle Center scored six in the fourth thanks to three hits sandwiched around six errors and five passed balls.
Unicoi, which scored one run in the fourth, plated three on a single and error from Colton Myers to keep the game alive.
But Maupin scored on an error and Sehrer reached on a passed ball to end the game via the run rule.
Eagle Center improved to 1-1 on the season with the win.
Horace Mann………………. 15
Horace Mann used 11 combined runs over the final three innings to pull ahead and seal a win via run-rule at 11:10 p.m..
Justin Maupin and Nate Childress delivered four hits apiece for the winning team. Maupin tallied a pair of triples, scored four times and drove two runs across while Childress had a triple and double and scored three times with six RBI.
Hunter Townsend added an RBI double and run, reaching four times including two walks and being struck by pitch, while Duncan Hodge reached four times, once on error, with two walks and a dropped third strike. Brady Varner also plated a run with an RBI double.
Duncan Hodge got the start for Horace Mann, but gave way to Nate Childress in the fourth inning. Childress retired nine of the ten batters he faced for the win, striking out eight in three innings of work.
Ryan Simmons took the loss for Unicoi, who went through three pitchers in the game.
Unicoi was led by two hits from Eric Cooper, while two others delivered a hit. The Devils trailed by one before a four-run fourth inning.
Horace Mann knotted the game with three runs in the third and regained the lead with two runs in the fourth followed by a four-inning fifth and five-run capper in the sixth.