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Blue Devils earn key win over Central

Douglas Fritz • Apr 18, 2018 at 10:16 PM

Unicoi County needed a dramatic finish to maintain its hold on first place in the Three Rivers Conference.

Clay Simpson hit a game-tying bomb — his second home run of the contest — in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Blue Devils pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth on Troy Podvin’s RBI grounder to earn a 6-5 baseball win over Sullivan Central on Tuesday at Baxter Field.

Unicoi (15-8) improved to 9-1 in league play, one game ahead of Sullivan East and two ahead of Elizabethton.

“I was just thinking don’t do too much, just get a base hit,” said Simpson of his seventh inning at-bat. “(Central’s pitcher) left it high and fat, and I hit it. It was a big pull, right down the (left field) line.”

Simpson was also dominant on the mound, striking out 14 batters before giving way to Podvin in the eighth inning.

“My fastball was struggling, but my curveball was on more today than it has ever been,” said Simpson.

Podvin threw eight pitches and got the win.

Simpson also homered in the fifth inning. Teammate Owen Nicholson had three hits. Brett Strother also homered for the Blue Devils, who will wrap up conference play with a two-game series against Elizabethton on Monday and Tuesday.

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