Gold claims Blue/Gold Fall World Series crown

Sunday, September 30, 2007

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 30, 2007) - The East Tennessee State baseball team wrapped up its fall practice this weekend, with the Gold team posting back-to-back victories Sunday to claim the annual Blue/Gold Fall World Series crown at Cardinal Park. The Gold team held on to a 9-6 win in game one, and cruised to a 5-2 victory in the nightcap.


Jay Sandos' (Voice of the Bucs/Network Director) Blue squad entered play Sunday needing only one win to claim the title, but Phillip Al-Mateen's (Director of Business/Ticket Operations) Gold team fought hard in game one and carried the momentum into game two to capture the crown.


Junior Nick Belcher (Abingdon, Va.) was named Offensive MVP for the weekend, as he hit .462 (6-13) with three doubles, a home run, three RBI, and seven runs scored. Belcher was also busy on the base paths, finishing with two stolen bases as well. Freshman and Johnson City native, Chas Byrne, tossed three scoreless innings and was named Most Outstanding Pitcher for the World Series. 


Belcher accounted for a large portion of the Gold's offense in the final game, going 3-for-3 with a double, home run, two RBI and three runs scored. The Abingdon, Va. native gave the Gold an early 1-0 cushion before Blue even took an at-bat, by blasting a solo shot over the left field wall in the first. Belcher then followed that up with an RBI double in the third and a single in the fourth, scoring three of the five runs for Al-Mateen's squad.


The Blue team missed out on scoring opportunities in the second and third, but finally got on the board when freshman Derek Trent (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit a two-run homer to right. However, senior Jimmy Tidwell (Acworth, Ga.) quickly settled down as he forced Anthony Russell (Waldorf, Md.) to ground out to third for the final out of the game.


Gold struck early in game one, plating six runs on five hits in the first frame and tacked on two more runs in the second. Al-Mateen's group had six consecutive players reach base in the first, starting with Belcher's one out double. Two local seniors stepped up in the clutch as Jon Edmonds (Johnson City) and Matt McGahey (Jonesborough) each drove in two runs in the fame. Edmonds connected with a single to left and McGahey followed that up with a double to right.


The Blue squad cut the margin in half as they scored four runs in the third. Trent, Russell, Byrne, and Bubba Herbold (Knoxville), each crossed the plate for Sandos' club in the inning. The rally continued as yesterday's hero, Ryan Self (Mount Juliet, Tenn.), scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, making it an 8-5 ballgame. Self continued to inch Blue closer with a two-out RBI double in the seventh, but that is as close they would get.


With the win, the Gold squad will now enjoy a meal from their favorite restaurant at Barberitos; while the Blue team has to participate in the Tri-Cities Race For the Cure-5K, on Oct. 7 in Kingsport.


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