Blue Devils prep for postseason

Just another busy week in the life of the Blue Devil baseball players.
Unicoi County (14-14) (9-5) went all the way from the bottom to the top by having their share of the Three Rivers Conference lead by defeating Sullivan East, 14-2.
The boys would meet Elizabethton for the second time in two weeks at Joe O’Brien Field in hopes of clinching the Three Rivers championship outright for the 2011 season.
Betsy’ would have the Devils number, with Unicoi falling, 10-6.
“They’ve played hard,” coach Charlie Baxter said about his boys’ recent 7-3 spurt within the conference after Blue Devils opened up 1-3. “They played hard today, but we just made too many mistakes against a good team and it’s unfortunate we didn’t play up to our potential.”
The Cyclones would strike first against sophomore pitcher Jonathon Davis, led behind RBI singles from Thomas Miller and Taylor Edwards.
A catch by center fielder Coty Vanhoy would stop the scoring in the first, but Elizabethton rallied to a 3-0 lead going into the top of the second inning.
Cyclone pitcher Taylor Gouge would hold Unicoi to three hits going into the fourth inning, with Cyclones hoping for the same result as last week’s 11-1 victory against the Blue Devils.
After the game on Monday against Sullivan East, the orange and black missed the memo about the Blue Devils’ fourth inning ways.
After a groundout by Scott Gibson and Ethan Rice getting on base by an error, senior Austin Arrowood opened up the scoring for Unicoi, scoring Rice on an RBI triple to put the Blue Devils. Arrowood would later score on a wild pitch and help put the Devils back within striking distance.
A Gavin Whitson single, along with a Ryan Lingerfelt walk and Davis bunt would set up junior shortstop Hunter Goddard to hit a two RBI single to put the boys in the lead 4-3.
Vanhoy scored on a wild pitch and an RBI walk by Gibson and gave the boys a six-run inning, and the lead, going into the bottom of the fourth.
Elizabethton would respond back by scoring seven runs and holding Unicoi scoreless the rest of the game.
“Elizabethton made plays,” Baxter said. “Their pitchers threw strikes, and that’s what you got to do to win and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Wes Montgomery came in from the bullpen and recorded the win for the Devils.
“It was a good win for us,” Elizabethton coach Joe Nix said. “Both teams came out ready to play and Unicoi’s just tough to beat. Period.”
The game would put Sullivan East back on top of the conference, who has one less loss than Unicoi, but the second place spot within the conference, that gives the team in the spot a bye game for the district tournaments, was still up for grabs at The Erwin Record’s Monday evening press deadline.

April 25, Sullivan East at UCHS
The Unicoi County Blue Devils experienced their share of the top honors of the Three Rivers conference by defeating Sullivan East, 14-2.
The highlight of the game was a 14-run fourth inning that was spearheaded by junior catcher Timmy Graham who increased the home run total to eight, after hitting two home runs and driving in five RBIs.
Scott Gibson (6-1) pitched a complete game for the Devils that led to the victory.

April 28 UCHS at David Crockett
The game on Thursday was a reminder of the Pioneers and Blue Devils last match-up due to the heavy offensive production by both teams.
The end result wasn’t the same however, with Unicoi coming away with a 10-8 victory on the road.
Coty Vanhoy went the distance on the mound for the boys, with Austin Arrowood relieving Vanhoy in the seventh to wrap up the game for the Blue Devils.
Gavin Whitson led the offense by driving in two runs.

April 29 Dobyns-Bennett at UCHS
Dobyns-Bennett was just too much. The Indians were able to defeat the Blue Devils 22-3 on Friday night at Baxter Field. Blue Devil William McInturff hit his first homerun of the season during the night for Unicoi.

April 30 UCHS at Loudon
Pitchers duel can explain Saturday’s game, as the Blue Devils traveled to Loudon to face the Loudon Redskins. Ethan Rice pitched a complete game for Unicoi, but the Redskins would squeak by with the win, 3-2, in extra innings.

This Week
The Blue Devils will wrap up their final conference match-up of the season on the road against Happy Valley on Monday, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
The Blue Devils will have their senior night festivities on Tuesday against David Crockett at Baxter Field. Game time for each game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
District tournaments will begin on Friday, with games being played at Milligan College. Team and time for Unicoi’s matchup is TBA

Lady Devils win big in Morristown

Weather couldn’t hold the Lady Devils back from playing softball this week.
Unicoi County (38-3) are now the proud owners of an outright Morristown Invitational title after last year’s weather caused the Lady Devils and Jefferson County to share the title as co-champions, with both teams being unable to play in the finals.
After a successful stint throughout the earlier tournament games, that included an 8-2 win over Pope John Paul II High School pitched by Lady Devil sophomore Kacy Silvers, the ladies would encounter Daniel Boone (31-6) (11-1) from the Big Eight Conference.
Daniel Boone met Unicoi County in Johnson City Tournament three weeks ago before the inclement weather set in to cancel the tournament, and the game went in favor of the Lady Devils.
The Trailblazers had revenge on their mind.
Each team defeated their foes in the semifinals by one run each, and the championship game would follow suit of the preceding games.
Morristown’s Frank Lorino Park was the site for a pitchers’ duel in the circle between three-time all state pitcher for Unicoi, Kara Woods, and the Trailblazers ace, Kellie Waycaster and the match-up did not fail to disappoint.
An early error by the Lady Devils, led to a sacrifice fly RBI by Natalie Sheffey that put the Trailblazers up early, 1-0.
Woods would make sure that would change, in the circle, and in the batter’s box.
The Trailblazers lone score would come in the first, as Woods held the Blazers to a stalled offensive effort throughout the rest of the game.
Coach Lingerfelt sat by as girls continued to get closer and closer to scoring, until his senior pitcher came through … with her bat.
Woods’ solo homerun to centerfield off Waycaster in the bottom of the fourth inning knotted up the game at 1-1, but the Trailblazers would put out the fire by getting Brittany Depew to pop up, leaving Chelsey Gardner at third base to end the inning.
The game would follow in the same tradition as a normal Red Sox/Yankees match-up from the major league in baseball, with each team relying on its defense to keep the game within reach, but Lingerfelt’s girls relied on the power of the bunt to get the lead.
The bottom of the sixth inning would see the emergence of the Devils, as Shea Pearson started off the inning by getting on base by a bobbled Trailblazer second baseman Andrea Rogers. Gardner, the number-five hitter, followed up with a base hit up the middle to get the fire going for the girls from Erwin.
Sophomore Kelsey Peterson would be out at first base, but did the job of advancing Pearson and Gardner into scoring position for Depew.
The bunt was put in place.
Depew (two RBIs) wasted no time by laying down a bunt with one out between first and the pitching circle, that brought in Unicoi’s two runs to put the Lady Devils on top, 3-1.
The Trailblazers made a final attempt in the top of the seventh, but after a tremendous catch by Haley Tittle with one out, the Trailblazers: Meredith Good hit the ball to senior third baseman from Unicoi, Whitney Webb, to wrap up the game.
The tournament win marks the Lady Devils fourth tournament win during the year.

This Week
The Lady Devils will look to wrap up the Three Rivers Conference title this week, the girls go on the road this week to play against the Sullivan North Golden Raiders on Monday, after the The Erwin Record’s press deadline. The game is rescheduled from last Monday’s affair that was canceled due to rain. First pitch will be thrown at 5 p.m.
The district tournaments begin this weekend, with the Lady Devils receiving a bye after placing high within the conference, the girls will be in action on Monday, May 9, at Johnson County High School. Time and opponent to be announced.

Unicoi boys 3-3 in conference after Betsy' win

The Unicoi County baseball squad improved their record to 5-8 (3-3) during the year after a victory against Three Rivers Conference rival Elizabethton, 12-6.
Scott Gibson (3-0) started his second game of the year, striking out nine and allowing six runs, Ethan Rice would come in for relief to seal the deal for the Devils.
Timmy Graham (3-4, 4 RBIs) increased his homerun count to five for the season, after a three-run homerun to deep centerfield.
Austin Arrowood and Brandon Foy each hit a homerun during the contest, with Coty Vanhoy going (4-4, 3 RBIs) during the day.
Corey Richardson record the loss for Elizabethton.

Lady Devils win over Longhorns, 19-0

The Lady Devils extended their record to 11-0 on Tuesday night, after putting away the Johnson County Longhorns, 19-0.
Senior Kara Woods was the winning pitcher on the mound for the Devils, striking out two and only allowing two base hits by the Horns.
The Devils continued on their defensive play from the NFS tournament, allowing no errors in the five innings of play, and offensively the were able to have 28 baserunners during the game.
The Devils will be in action on Friday, April 1, at 4 p.m., partcipating in the Eastmen Softball tournament, in Kingsport. The game will be played at Dobyns-Bennett's Indian Highland Park.

Erwin mother and daughters scrap it out on the track

By Derek Smallwood
Staff Intern

Charma Geddon’s family needs padding and helmets when they get together — and skates, too.
Charma grew up in Erwin, and has lived here for all but two years of her life, but the name may not be familiar. She is probably better known as Shelley Edens.
The Edens have been involved in the Little City Roller Girls organization since 2009. Roller derby is a way for the family to have fun and put back into the community.
Charma is Edens’ roller derby name. Her daughters are also involved. Gracie, 13, is known as Minx La Mae, Sydney, 17, is Kippie VonStryker and Linnie, who is about 2, already has her derby name — E. LinnienateHer.
Everyone involved with derby gets names which they use much as an actor has a stage name. The derby names are creatively linked to the individual’s personality. Usually, the player picks the names, but sometimes their teammates help.
Some names are a take on their birth names, The Jenerator, Gingeraffe, and toXic MaTerry’l. Others have a more competitive nature in line with roller derby such as PsychoSamatic, Joy Bomber, Devilique and Riot Earp.
Shannon Brown, or Big Daddy Voodoo, is one of the volunteers for Little City. Other personalities involved in the derby are the referees, street teams that help with promoting the team and other support people called non skating officials.
“Nobody has one job in roller derby,” Big Daddy Voodoo said. “I am the announcer, webmaster and water boy. I try to help with the video production. I have helped them with marketing, with branding, dealing with the media. I just help wherever they need me.”
Eden’s daughters are a big reason the family is involved in derby.
“We went to a bout in February,” Edens said. “I saw it in the paper and the family went. Two days later, the girls started juniors. The juniors had just started their team, and the girls decided they wanted to do it. I think the juniors had just had two practices beforehand. The more I watched, the more I wanted to do it.”
Edens quickly became interested in competing herself.
“I lost a bet in June that I couldn’t do it. I kind of wanted to, so I ‘lost’ the bet, “she said emphasizing lost.
“I started fresh meat in June, and started with the team in September. I skated a little bit as a kid, but it came back,” she said. She also used to skate a little with her daughters when they were younger.
Fresh meat teaches the basics of roller derby and allows the skaters to become familiar with skating, so prior skating experience is not required. “Fresh meat runs about three months, but you can continue until you are comfortable on skates,” she said.
Roller derby has been around in one form or another since before the 1900s. There is an older roller derby that runs on banked track, but the Little City Roller Girls are based on the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association rules. “I had watched it on Saturdays when I was little, but this is nothing like I watched on TV,” said Edens.
“Flat track is just easier to have a venue. Banked track you have to take with you and it’s a lot more expensive and there are only certain places you can set it up,” she said.
WFTDA is a fast growing sports league. According to their website there are currently 109 full member leagues and 53 apprentice leagues since they began operating in 2004.
It was only a couple of years before some area skaters became interested in roller derby. Edens said in 2007, Noli ChuckYa and Chick Norris had been going to Asheville and practicing. They decided they wanted to try to get a team together locally instead of driving for 90 minutes a couple of times a week. They started in the open skates at the Johnson City Family Skate Center seeking for fresh meat to join the team.
It took only about three years to build the team. Last July, WFTDA announced the Little City Roller Girls had been accepted into the apprentice program.
In addition to the Junior Rollers, the Little City Derby Brats are for girls ages three to 11. “Our juniors run from 11 to 17 years old. Most start from 12 and some even older,” said Edens. “I think Madison (N.C.) starts at eight because they don’t have the brats.”
The Little City Junior Rollers were the first Juniors/Brats team in the state of Tennessee and are charter members in the Junior Roller Derby Association.
Not all teams have a junior team. “Nashville just started their junior team in November. Blue Ridge started their team, the Madison Dirty Divas about April last year. They are cropping up,” Edens said. “We had a request from a team in Indiana, but that is a little far for us right now. But there is a junior conference in Ohio that we are hoping to attend.”
The Junior Rollers and Derby Brats have bouts just like the big girls. “The Brats have their bouts (at the Johnson City Family Skate Center),” she said.
“The Juniors have gotten to skate with the Blue Ridge Roller Girls and they got to skate at Freedom Hall before our bout began. The Juniors have been invited to skate at the Freedom Hall bout on June 25th. They are very excited,” she said.
“There are a couple of the brats that have been around since the start of the program and those kids are rockin’,” Big Daddy Voodoo said.
“Imagine when the Brats team gets to the adult level.” They will have more skating experience than anyone currently on the team. “Roller derby will change because of that,” he said.
In addition to her team responsibilities, Edens works with the Junior Rollers. She said Devilique coaches the team, Wyatt Erp is the assistant and Edens is her assistant.
“The juniors are getting better and better. It’s getting to a point where you almost can’t tell the juniors from the grownups the way they play,” Big Daddy Voodoo said.
According to Edens she helps the new girls learn the ropes. “I usually train the fresh meat, the new girls,” Edens said. “I take them to the side and show them how to fall, to stop correctly, and make sure they are suited up right.”
Roller derby is a contact sport, so injures are possible, but learning skills help to keep injuries to a minimum. Also, protective gear is a required.
“We’re required (to have) helmets, mouth guards, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards,” Edens said. Other than the most common bumps and bruises, she has pulled a quadriceps muscle. She said one girl had just rejoined the team after breaking her wrist.
Roller derby bouts are played anywhere there is room to set up a track. Each bout lasts an hour and is divided into halves. The halves are divided into jams. Teams score points by passing opposing players. There are halftime shows to keep the energy level high.
“The nature of roller derby is eclectic. We have had bands, such as local favorites the Jones Boys and Demon Waffle,” Big Daddy Voodoo said. “One time we had a band that played grunge versions of video game themes. Sometimes we have done giant twister on a huge twister board. We get fans, and play Twister for a while. I start eliminating lines and it gets real cut throat.
“We do give-aways from local businesses. We actually take requests for half time shows,” Big Daddy Voodoo said, laughing.
There are four blockers and a jammer for each team. The jammer wears a star on their helmet. The lead jammer is determined by which jammer is ahead of the other after the first lap. The lead jammer can call the jam off at any time up to two minutes, after that time the jam is over.
“The jammers are the only ones that score points,” Edens explained. “They score after the first time through the pack. For every opposing player they pass they get a point. If they pass the other jammer they get another point.
“You get points for anybody in the penalty box every time you pass them. The blockers can make you a path or if you are a better jammer you make your own path.”
With those rules, roller derby is fast-paced and high-scoring. Some bouts finish with scores as high as 147-134, in the May 2009 bout with the Charlotte Rollergirls with Little City taking the win.
“I have no idea how fast we are going. It just seems we are flying for two minutes,” she said.
“It will get real competitive in about a month or so to be able to skate in a bout,” said Edens. Currently there are about 20 girls on the team and 10 in fresh meat. “There can only be 14 girls on the roster,” she said. “Everybody wants to be in the bouts.”
Little City Roller Girls are more than just the team members. There are support personnel involved with the team. Each one are volunteers who love the sport and helping out the community. One way that Little City reaches out is with a fitness and health program the derby girls are doing in some schools.
“There is a program that Joy Bomber had put together where the girls will travel around to the schools and talk to the kids about roller derby, fitness and how to stay healthy. And the kids really respond to it,” Big Daddy Voodoo said.
Putting back into the community is something that Little City, the group’s non-profit organization, is all about.
“Every single bout, since the first one in 2008, a percentage of everything we make goes to a charity. Each one is a different charity,” said Big Daddy Voodoo. “They are all local charities. We have done national charities, but we do it through the local representative. We try to spread it around; there are so many local charities that could use help.”
“When we do fundraising we’re trying to help the community and bring attention to these different things. When we put on a bout, everything from the concessions, the spread we put out in the locker room, the chairs; everything is local. We go to local people in the community to give back. Then we bring them in and entertain them.”
Big Daddy Voodoo said charities have included Relay For Life, Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Johnson City School System, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Red Cross, Girls on the Run and Agape Women’s Center.
“Each skater has something that means something to them,” Big Daddy Voodoo explained. “We have a meeting and we all go around talking about what charities we would like to do. We look at those, and vote to narrow it down. We always welcome any charity that needs help. Let us know, that’s what we’re here for.”
Recently the Sullivan County Humane Society has been receiving assistance from Little City.
Monday, March 21 was an event where pet owners could bring their pets to have them groomed by a roller girl for a donation to help the SCHS low-cost spay and neuter program and fund the care of homeless animals at the Kingsport Animal Shelter. The girls also collected food and supplies for the shelter
“We made almost $700 for the Sullivan County Humane Society,” Edens said. “Some was payment for washes, some just donated money. We washed 27 dogs. Also some people came in and donated dog food, cat food, bleach and some canned foods.”
On Thursday, April 7, from noon until 3 p.m., the group will be helping the society with its Adopt-a-Pet program at the Kingsport Pet Smart.
These events are just a part of the support given SCHS. The next bout will donate a percent of what is taken in to the SCHS. It will be held on Saturday, April 9.
“It is a double-header called Double-Dog Dare Ya and will be at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray. The doors open at 4 and the bout starts at 5 p.m.”
“This is Little City versus two teams. We have done other double-headers, but this time it’s just Little City versus Star City and then Little City versus Music City Brawl Stars. We’re gonna see what we got,” said Big Daddy Voodoo.
The Star City Rollergirls are from Roanoke, Va. and the Music City Brawl Stars are from Nashville.
“The girls are ready; the training they are doing is so intensive. People who were here a year ago are coming back and saying ‘I can’t keep up.’ It is pro sports level training.”
Fourteen players make a full roster. You can have 20 players on a team for a tournament. So for the double header, the group will have 20 players and will be able to mix them up between bouts.
According to Big Daddy Voodoo, fans usually fill the building in Gray, so the public is encouraged to come early.
If you want to be close to the action, you can sit in the suicide seating.
“You have to be 18 to sit in the suicide seating,” said Edens. “It is three feet from the line. You could end up with a roller girl in your lap.”
Visit www.littlecityrollergirls.com for more information.

Heartbreaker In The Devils Den

All good things must come to an end.
The Blue Devils successful post season run came to an end on Monday night, when Stone Memorial came to the Devils Den and upset the boys, 63-56.
The start of the game seemed to be in favor of the Devils, with senior Logan Lyle going on a 9 point scoring streak that had the Panthers shut down early in the game.
After the 20-5 start for the Devils, Stone Memorial began to rally back behind the play of Alex Kiser, and brought the deficit to 12, with Unicoi still holding on 38-26 at the end of the second. Trevor Shelton would take over the scoring duty Lyle started in the first, fighting inside to get 10 of his 17 to drop in the second. The quarter would be the end for Junior Austin Hensley's night who injured his ankle and would not play the rest of the game, Hensley finished with six points, five rebounds and a block.
The boys from Crossville would come out hard from halftime and continue the rally in the third.Robert Traino scored six of his 20 overall points for the Panthers during the quarter, but Lyle would continue to keep the boys within the game with some late quarter free throws and a three pointer, which kept Unicoi on top 45-42.
The fourth quarter would be a battle between the boys, with each time fighting back and forth for the lead between the 5:00 to 3:00 minute mark in the fourth, with Shelton, Christian Watson and Davey Edwards getting a three to drop but Stone Memorial woud be to much in the end for the Devils.
After the game, coach John English had nothing but great words to say about his boys, “We're proud of all our guys,” Engish said, “they put that jersey on and play with pride, theres no shame in dropping one here tonight.”
English spoke about the senior class he had, which contributed over 100 wins throughout their years of being Blue Devils, “This team has left a big mark on our program, I'm just proud of em' all”
Unicoi County (30-4) finished up the season with a multitude of accomplishments, winning the Three Rivers Conference, winning the 1-AA District and Regional Tournaments, and coming one game away from punching a ticket to the Boro'.

Public input sought concerning bear archery season in Unicoi, other counties

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission is still seeking public input concerning the bear archery season.
At the May commission meeting, the TWRC reduced the 2010-11 bear archery season to three weeks from the proposed five-week season in Unicoi, Blount, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Jefferson, Johnson, Monroe, Polk, Sevier, Sullivan and Washington counties.
The change by the TWRC was in response to discussions related to calls that some commissioners had received about the length of the bear archery season. While there was some similar discussion at the April TWRC meeting, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency did not recommend shortening the bear archery hunting season at the May commission meeting.
In reference to that change, Mike Chase, TWRC Chairman, stated “My concern is perhaps ample notice of a possible change was not given for other opinions to be considered. Given the volume of regulations and seasons we had to address during our meeting, that is sometimes difficult to do. We want to make absolutely sure that all sides are considered before we finalize this year’s regulations for bear hunting.”
Hunters may send their comments to the following email address: twra.comment@tn.gov or by regular mail to: Archery Bear Season Comments, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204.

Eighth grade teams continue in tourney

The season continues for both eighth grade basketball teams after coming out on top in the open rounds of the Eighth Grade Tournament last week.
The Blue Devils won two of their three games to improve to 15-7 overall, 8-7 in conference play.
For the boys squad, they defeated the always difficult Vance Vikings last Saturday, Jan. 23, 36-26, in the opening game of the Eighth Grade Tournament at Science Hill High School.
Ethan Rice (15 points) and Lucas Hensley (12 points) combined for 27 points as they advance to the next round and also qualified for the Area One Tournament next weekend at John Sevier. Connor Simpson and Austin Green each scored three points. Shelton and Armstrong scored two and one point, respectively.
“We survived,” Jordan Simmons, Unicoi County head coach, said. “We attacked the basket in the second half and made our free throws.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Blue Devils pounded Church Hill, 50-17 in their final home game of the season.
Hensley paced a balanced attack with 16 points. Rice followed with nine. Shelton scored six while Green scored five. Jerad Shelley scored three points while Nick Chambers, Tristan White, Matthew Lingerfelt, Thomas Tipton and Armstrong each scored two points. Simpson scored one point.
The Blue Devils ended the regular season on Thursday, Jan. 21 at Ross Robinson, with a 43-27 loss. Rice led with nine points while Hensley scored seven points. Simpson scored three while Green, Shelley, Lingerfelt and Shelton each scored two points.
The Blue Devils will play John Sevier Tuesday, Jan. 26 in the auxiliary gym at Freedom Hall in the next round of Eighth Grade Tournament play. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
In eighth grade girls action, the Lady Devils turned away a difficult Vance squad, 40-35, on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Freedom Hall in the opening game of the Eighth Grade Tournament and also secured a spot in the Area One Tournament next weekend at John Sevier.
The win improves the Lady Devils to 14-8 overall. Tiffany Laughren scored 15 points and Haley Webb scored 12 points to lead the Lady Devils. Whitley True scored seven points and Cassie Foster contributed four points. Brooke Strother’s two points completed the Unicoi County scoring.
Head coach Kerri King was thrilled at her team’s performance. “They wouldn’t be denied,” King said. “They knew it was one and done. They played very hard.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Lady Devils finished their regular season with a bang, beating Church Hill, 34-13.
Laughren led the way with 11 points. True and Foster followed with eight and seven points, respectively. Emily Hopson scored four points while Webb and Strother each scored two points.
Unicoi County faces its old nemesis, Science Hill, in the next round of the Eighth Grade Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5 p.m.
For the Unicoi County Middle School seventh grade basketball teams, the season came to an end last week.
For the boys team, they split their final two games and finished with a 9-7 overall record.
“It’s the best record I have ever had as a coach,” Chris Brown, seventh grade head coach. said.
The Blue Devils won their final home game of the season when they defeated Church Hill, 43-31, on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Zach Thelen led the offense with 11 points with Will Shelton scoring 10. Caleb Armstrong contributed nine points and Luke Fronckoski scored eight. Eli Gillis and Jordan Hyder rounded out the scoring with three and two points, respectively.
On Thursday, Jan. 21 the team’s season ended with a 34-19 loss at Ross Robinson.
Shelton led the Blue Devils with six points. Gillis followed with five. Armstrong scored four points while Fronckoski and Davis Webb scored two points each.
For the seventh grade Lady Devils, the season ended on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Church Hill with a 38-31 loss.
Chelsey Harness led the Lady Devils with nine points. Morgan Lee Brown followed with seven points. Taylor Smith, Devan Lamie and Emily Lynch each scored four points while Brittney Rice completed the scoring with three points as Unicoi County finished the season with a 5-10 overall record.

Track team seeking records

New Unicoi County High School Blue Devil and Lady Devil Track and Field Record boards will be displayed in the commons area at UCHS during the next four home basketball games. The team needs help in finding records and record-holders.
Relive past performances, enjoy looking at the dates the records were set, and by which UCHS athletes. Updating and correcting these boards will be an honor to the past and future goals for UCHS tracksters to strive to beat.
For more information, you may call head track and field coach Randy Brewer at 743-1632.

New decade brings challenges to little league

With 2010 ushering in a new decade and baseball/softball season almost two months away, Unicoi County Little League Board of Directors are busy preparing for the upcoming season.
Each year new rules are handed down from Little League International with some years being more drastic than others. This year is fairly calm so far, but Little League Congress will meet in Lexington, Kentucky March 12-15 and some big changes are on the agenda possibly being in play this season.
Unicoi County Little League has also been looking at some local changes. The Board of Directors has been researching on splitting the Major Baseball Division into two age groups, 9-10 and 11-12. We have discussed this with others leagues, 2010 coach candidates and the Tennessee District 5 Administrator. We now want to hear from the parents, UCLL will be hosting a forum with information to educate all those interested followed by a question answer session. The forum will be held Monday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at Erwin City Hall. A final vote by the Board of Directors is on the UCLL agenda Feb. 3 meeting. We invite anyone interested to attend this forum.
Registration dates have been set for all divisions of Baseball and Softball ages 4-13 years old, Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 18 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs Conference Room located above the main concession stand at Kiwanis Park on South Main Avenue.
Little League International has recently announced a new baseball pilot division for ages 12- and 13-year-old players, our fields do not allow us to participate hosting any games but interested teams/players will inter-league with other leagues in District 5. During the 2010 pilot program these players will be allowed to participate in both the 9/12 Major Division, the 13/14 Jr. League Division and the 12/13 Pilot Division.
UCLL has not changed participation prices in more than 10 years, even though expenses rose. We are a self supportive organization offering a safe environment for your children to learn good sportsmanship and play the game. Fundraisers are very important to the operation of our league, this year we will be selling onions and sports cups, order forms will be handed out as players register.
2010 will be a busy year with the installation of a new set of Musco field lights on the baseball field won in 2008. We will also be rewiring the Softball field lights and building to eliminate the interruption of blackouts during games. The Minor League field will be receiving a new grass infield with holes filled, sprinkler system revitalized and re-sodded.
The 2010 Tennessee 11/12 State Tournament will be hosted in Tennessee District 5, UCLL is working hard to receive the honor to host this tournament. UCLL has hosted many state softball tournaments but has not hosted an 11/12 baseball tournament. Each tournament UCLL is awarded we help give back to Unicoi County’s revenue thru hotel accommodations, fuel sold and restaurant visits. The businesses and citizens of Unicoi County are supportive of our league and for that we say “THANK YOU.”
We invite all parents and those interested to visit Unicoi County Little League Web site, www.eteamz.com/unicoi for league updates, games schedules and more as they come available, with links to Little League International, Tennessee District 5, and TND5UA.
Little League International offer various awards, Volunteer of the Year, Mom of the Year and Good Sportsman of the Year. These are national awards with winners being invited to Williamsport, Pa. and being introduced during the World Series in August. For more details and entry forms can be found on Little League International Web site.
As the new decade begins we look forward to an exciting 10 years of Baseball/Softball, but we can not forget the past decade produced four State Softball Championships, a great effort at the Southern Regional Softball Championship and the National A.S.A.P. Safety Plan Award for Unicoi County Little League.
We invite everyone to come out and support your local Little League program.

Lady Devils improve record to 13-4 overall

The Lady Devils won two of their three games last week to go to 13-4 overall.
The Lady Devils lost 52-36 on Friday, Jan. 15, at Elizabethton that gave the Lady Cyclones sole possession of first place in the Three Rivers Conference. Unicoi County is in second place with a 2-1 conference record.
“They were a bit more aggressive,” said Emmie Thompson, who paced Unicoi County with 12 points. “We stayed with them in stretches.”
Indeed, they did as Unicoi County came out very aggressive-leading 9-2 after a pair of free-throw conversions by Thompson midway in the first quarter. Elizabethton’s combativeness began to stir as they closed the gap to one after two free-throw conversions by Kamra Fritz. But, two free-throws by Emily Edwards (five points) and a basket by Andrea Engle gave Unicoi County a 13-8 lead as the second quarter began.
But, Edwards was called for three personal fouls in the first half and, along with Elizabethton’s team speed beginning to come to the fore, Unicoi County would soon be in trouble. A basket by Thompson gave her teammates a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter, but Elizabethton would soon take away the momentum from Unicoi County.
With the score tied at 18-18, on a free-throw by Edwards, four points by Erin Kiser gave Elizabethton a 22-18 lead and they never looked back. Edwards’ free-throw was Unicoi County’s last point of the first half as Elizabethton’s running game was ignited as they took a 26-18 halftime lead. It would only get worse for Unicoi County.
Elizabethton head coach Len Dugger watched as his team dismantled Unicoi County in the second half. While Jasmine Jefferson was giving post player Ivory Shelton a battle in the post with her aggressive play, the catalyst for Elizabethton was point guard Kristen Powell, who led the Lady Cyclones with 16 points and leave Lady Devil defenders flailing at air as she repeatedly ran past them for baskets or dishing the ball off to her teammates. Powells’ basket at the end of the third quarter gave Elizabethton a 42-30 lead.
Shutting off the lanes in the fourth quarter, Powell stepped out and drilled two three-pointers in the fourth quarter , the second near the midway point to give Elizabethton a 49-34 lead. Thompson’s basket with two minutes left was Unicoi County’s only basket the final five minutes of the game as Elizabethton won decisively, 52-36.
Dugger watched his team improve to 14-1 overall, 4-0 in conference play and was gracious in victory. “Unicoi County played hard,” Dugger said. “They competed well. Coach Fisher does a fine job. Offensively, I think we were able to knock down some shots at crucial times and we were stingy defensively.”
The numbers bear that out as Unicoi County scored 18 points in both halves. Thompson pulled down eight rebounds and made two steals.
Mikayla Bennett came off the bench and scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, while making two assists and two steals. Chelsey Gardner also contributed six points, three rebounds and one assist. Edwards also had two assists and grabbed four rebounds. Rilie King also scored five points and had two rebounds and one steal. Andrea Engle scored two points while Shelton led with nine rebounds.
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The Lady Devils play three games this week. They host Johnson County Tuesday, Jan. 19, and Chuckey-Doak Thursday, Jan. 21, before visiting Sullivan North Friday, Jan. 22. The junior varsity will play at 3:30 p.m. except against Johnson County — there will be no girl’s junior varsity game. The varsity will tip-off at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 vs. Hampton:
The Lady Bulldogs were primed for an upset, leading 48-44 with 24 seconds left in the game, but four points by King gave Unicoi County a narrow 49-48 non-conference win. King’s three-point play with 16 seconds left tied the score at 48-48. With seven seconds left, King’s free-throw conversion gave Unicoi County the win.
The Lady Devils led 11-6 after the first quarter but Hampton came out on fire in the second quarter-outscoring Unicoi County 15-7 to take a 21-18 halftime lead. It was a physical battle in the third quarter that Hampton was winning as they led 29-28 at quarter’s end —foretelling the final quarter that ended with a thrilling finish. King led Unicoi County with 12 points. Edwards followed with nine points while making two assists and three steals. Thompson finished with six points as did Shelton, who led with seven rebounds. McCurry scored five points while Webb and Bennett scored four points each. Webb also grabbed four rebounds. Engle and Gardner each scored two points to complete the Unicoi County scoring.
“Both teams were rusty,” Fisher said. “They both played hard. We were fortunate to win.”

Saturday, Jan. 16 vs. Unaka:
After a difficult loss at Elizabethton the night before, Unicoi County was eager for a win and Unaka was the target as the Lady Devils won easily, 71-26, in a non-conference win.
“We had to bounce back from a disappointing loss,” Fisher said. “We moved the ball well and played well as a team.”
The Lady Rangers never had a chance as the Lady Devils struck early and often-leading 21-9 after the first quarter. The Lady Rangers couldn’t buy a basket while Unicoi County had a bonanza of points, taking a 43-18 halftime lead. Eleven Lady Devils entered the scoring column, led by King’s 16 points. Thompson scored 13 points while making two assists and one steal. Shelton, Edwards and Webb followed with nine points each. Webb grabbed four rebounds, had three assists and made one steal. Shelton grabbed seven rebounds. Edwards grabbed six rebounds, made three assists and had two steals. McCurry scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds. Engle scored three points, made two assists and had six rebounds. Gardner, Bennett and Toody Tolley each scored two points. Gardner grabbed six rebounds and had one steal. Bennett had one assist and three steals while Tolley grabbed four rebounds. Brooke Barnett scored one point to end the Lady Devil scoring while Brittany Depew contributed one assist and two steals.

Lady Devils, Blue Devils win over Hampton

Trailing 44-38 with a minute left in the game, the Lady Devils played inspired basketball – scoring 11 points to escape with a narrow 49-48 win over visiting Hampton in a non-conference tilt.
A three-point play by Rilie King with 16 seconds left tied the score at 48-48. King gave Unicoi County a win by converting a free-throw with seven seconds left. King led the Lady Devils with 12 points.

••••

Led by Logan Lyle’s 26 points, the Blue Devils defeated Hampton 61-52.
D.W. Whitson had a double-double scoring 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Dylan Frazier also scored 13 points and made a couple of key steals late in the game to secure the win.

Middle school teams have good start

2010 began on the right note for the Unicoi County Middle School Lady Devils as both seventh and eighth grade basketball teams defeated visiting Ross Robinson Monday, Jan. 4.
Seventh grade head coach, Danielle Hensley watched as her squad ran Robinson off the court with a 51-14 win and improve their overall record to 4-6. 11 seventh-graders hit the scoring column — paced by Chelsey Harness’s 12 points.
“It was a good way to start off the New Year,” Hensley said. “Glad to get everyone playing time. We played with intensity throughout the whole game.”
Unicoi County jumped out to a quick 9-0 first quarter lead, four by Harness, and never looked back as the overmatched Robinson team was helpless to stem the Lady Devil tide as they led 18-4 after the first quarter. Poor shooting plus the Lady Devils’ tenacious defense and ball-hawking made life miserable for Robinson as they were held to just two points in the second quarter while Unicoi County took a decisive 28-6 halftime lead.
It was more of the same in the second half as the Lady Devils kept up the pressure at both ends of the court. Abbie True’s (seven points) basket just before the end of the third quarter gave Unicoi County a 39-8 lead. Unicoi County’s biggest lead was 39 points. Twice in the fourth quarter they led by that much. The second and last time was following a basket by Hannah Rice(three points) with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Laura Rogers scored six points and Taylor Smith five(one three-pointer).
Emily Lynch also scored five points while Morgan Lee Brown scored four. Devan Lamie scored three points while Cheyenne Harris, Brittnie Rice and Destinie Hayes each scored two points. Here is a summary of other seventh grade action from last week:
••••
In eighth grade play, head coach Kerri King’s squad followed the seventh-graders’ lead as they won 52-18 to go to 11-6 overall.
“We played very well,” King said. “I was very happy with our defensive play.”
Balance was again the order of the day as nine Lady Devils, led by Whitley True’s 16 points (two three-pointers) and Cassie Foster’s 10 points, hit the scoring column.
Robinson proved to be a tough foe, especially in the first quarter as they kept pace with Unicoi County until late in the quarter when the Lady Devils’ defense and perimeter shooting left Robinson behind as the Lady Devils began to take control of the game, leading 13-9 at quarter’s end.
The second quarter was the decisive quarter for Unicoi County as they scored the first 14 points to lead 27-9 following a free-throw conversion by Brooke Strother (eight points) with just more than two minutes left in the first half. The Lady Devils’ defense squashed Robinson’s spirit with their aggressive play that forced them into several turnovers and held them to just two second-quarter points.
Smith and Strother, showing excellent court awareness, found Foster alone for consecutive baskets in the final 20 seconds of the first half to give Unicoi County a 36-11 lead.
As in the seventh grade game, the eighth-graders maintained its high intensity at both ends of the court and took Robinson completely out of their game as Robinson would score just three third-quarter points, and that was just before the buzzer as Unicoi County led 48-14 after three quarters.
The outcome never in doubt, Unicoi County coasted in the fourth quarter. Harness’s basket with under a minute left closed the Lady Devil scoring as they won 52-18. Tiffany Laughren continued her consistent play with nine points. Lynch, Brittnie Rice and Harness each scored two points while Emily Hopson scored one point.
Snow postponed Unicoi County’s scheduled home game against Science Hill last Thursday, Jan. 7. No make-up date had been announced by deadline.
At The Erwin Record’s Monday evening deadline, Unicoi County was scheduled to host T.A. Dugger.
Thursday, Jan. 14, Unicoi County travels to Kingsport to play John Sevier. The seventh grade will play at 5 p.m. The eighth grade plays at 6 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 19, the Lady Devils trek to Church Hill where the seventh-graders will play at 5:30 p.m. The eighth grade tips-off at 6:30 p.m.
In boys action, Unicoi County’s scheduled games at Ross Robinson Jan. 5, and against Science Hill Jan. 7, were both cancelled due to snow. At deadline, no rescheduling had been announced.
The Blue Devils will host John Sevier on Thursday, Jan. 14. The seventh-graders play at 4:30 p.m. The eighth-graders meet at 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 19, Unicoi County hosts Church Hill. Seventh grade game begins at 5:30 p.m. The eighth grade game follows at 6:30 p.m.

Blue Devils improve record to 12-3 overall

Unicoi County won two of its three games last week to improve to 12-3 overall.
The Blue Devils looked great for three quarters against Morristown West in the first round game of the New People’s Bank Holiday Classic at Sullivan North Monday, Dec. 28. Leading 48-28 late in the third quarter, the Blue Devils let the Trojans back into the game- a game that had blowout written all over it. It is a puzzling trend that head coach John English is still searching for an answer for. “We had a great start,” English said. “It is hard to put a finger on the late game stuff, but we closed it out.”
The first quarter was an active one with five lead changes. Senior post player Tyler Turner was the go-to guy for Unicoi County as the Blue Devils made a concerted effort to exploit the mismatch in the post and exploit it they did to the tune of 12 first-quarter points for Turner and Unicoi County needed every one of them. It was Turner’s three-point play with 22 seconds left in the quarter that gave Unicoi County a 16-14 lead at quarter’s end. Turner finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
The second quarter belonged to Unicoi County as their ball-hawking defense took Morristown West out of its game — especially Logan Lyle (20 points) who blocked seven shots for the game — five in the first half as the Trojans appeared hesitant to drive to the hoop and took numerous perimeter shots instead.
The defense held the Trojans to just three second-quarter points as Unicoi County took a 32-19 halftime lead on a basket by Tolley (17 points) with 18 seconds left. The Blue Devils picked up where they left off in the third quarter as their perimeter shooting took wing as the Blue Devils made five three-point shots in the quarter. Lyle scored 11 of his team high 20 points in the quarter. Lyle’s three-pointer with less than three minutes left in the quarter gave Unicoi County its biggest lead, 48-28.
From this point on, the Trojans would be the aggressors as Unicoi County repeated what they did against David Crockett — letting its opponent back into the game. West would outscore Unicoi County 11-7 the rest of the quarter to make it a 55-39 deficit as the fourth quarter commenced.
The final quarter was a roller-coaster ride with momentum clearly with the Trojans as they outscored Unicoi County 23-11 in the quarter. Chad Brooks’ basket with 30 second left cut the lead to 64-62. Free-throws by Tolley and D.W. Whitson gave Unicoi County a narrow 66-62 win.
“This was a tough win,” Turner said. “They are very athletic. We almost blew the lead late. We need to finish better.”
Regular scheduled games resume Tuesday, Jan. 5 when Unicoi County hosts Unaka. The junior varsity play at 5 p.m. The varsity tips-off at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8, it is off to Sullivan East for a key Three Rivers Conference game with the Patriots. The junior varsity play at 5 p.m. The varsity square off at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 29 vs. Hampton
The Bulldogs exacted a measure of revenge for the Blue Devils 77-60 win earlier this season at Hampton as the Bulldogs won 68-59 in a semi-final game of the New People’s Bank Holiday Classic.
The Bulldogs opened the game aggressively at both ends of the court and shot the ball very well throughout. They led 13-11 after the first quarter and consistently penetrated to the basket. Hampton took a 19-13 lead in the second quarter before the Blue Devils perimeter shooting found its mark that sparked a 17-4 run to give Unicoi County a 30-23 halftime lead.
Turner’s basket near the midpoint of the third quarter gave Unicoi County a 39-39 lead but the Bulldogs ‘poise didn’t waver. That began a trend that carried over into the fourth quarter as they outscored Unicoi County 11-7 the remainder of the quarter and trailed 46-40 at quarter’s end.
The bottom fell out for the Blue Devils in the fourth quarter as Hampton continued its trapping defense and that fed its offense and it was on fire as they outscored Unicoi County 28-13 in the quarter to walk off with a 68-59 win.
It marked the third straight game the Blue Devils played poorly in the fourth quarter. “Fourth-quarter play caught up to us,” English said. “I knew it would.”
Lyle led with 18 points while compiling three assists and making seven deflections. Frazier followed with 12 points and two steals while Tolley chipped in with 10 points, four assists and six rebounds. Whitson scored two points and made two steals. Turner finished with eight points and grabbed 12 points while having a devil of a time with the Bulldogs’ Logan Andrews in the post. Austin Hensley scored seven points and Trevor Shelton, two points to round out the scoring.

Wednesday, Dec. 30 vs. Elizabethton
The Blue Devils responded from the Hampton debacle the night before with a solid 68-38 win over the Cyclones to improve its overall record to 12-3.
Four Blue Devils, led by Lyle’s 19 points, scored in double figures as Unicoi County led 26-4 after the first quarter.
The second quarter found the Blue Devils sluggish as they could muster just 11 points and led 37-11 at halftime.
The second half, particularly the fourth quarter, had been Unicoi County’s Achilles in this tournament. Leading 51-27 after three quarters, Unicoi County kept the pressure on the Cyclones as they outscored ‘Betsy 17-6 in the final quarter to secure victory.
Tolley scored 14 points while Turner and Hensley scored 10 points each. Frazier scored eight points while Whitson scored two points.