Greeneville boys win battle of the Devils

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 14, 2018 at 9:27 PM

GREENEVILLE — Greeneville pitcher Jordan Idell scattered seven hits over seven innings and the Greene Devils defeated Unicoi County 5-0 in the Region 1-AA baseball semifinals Monday at Hardin Park.

Idell, who finished with five strikeouts, gave up back-to-back singles in the second and fifth innings, but the Blue Devils weren't able to advance the runners past second base. The Blue Devils had runners picked off first base twice.

"The bottom of our lineup was getting on base and somehow we kept getting picked off," Unicoi County coach Chad Gillis said. "But, we've got to hit it better. We never got anybody to third base and you can't score like that. Idell did a great job pitching, but I thought Clay (Simpson) hung in there, too."

Greeneville improved to 22-10 and will face Elizabethton in Wednesday's Region 1-AA final. Unicoi County ended its season at 20-15 despite the Blue Devils giving up just four hits.

Simpson suffered the loss, going 5 1/3 innings before handing the ball over to Caleb Wilson.

Raben Reed led Unicoi County at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Owen Nicholson, Peyton Whitson, Garrett Manuel and Caleb Crain accounted for the other hits.

After three scoreless innings, Braden Spano got Greeneville on the board with a wild pitch in the fourth. The Greene Devils added another run on a passed ball in the fifth and then tacked on the final three runs in the sixth, which included a double by Caleb Norris and Dalton McClain's sacrifice fly to score Bryce Buchanan.

"Jordan was fantastic and he had good command of all his pitches against an aggressive team," Greeneville coach Andy Collins said. "He was able to attack them with his off-speed pitches right away and that set us up well. We work on those pick-offs every day. It's something you work on every day in practice that you really don't pay much attention to, but it really worked out for us today."

Gillis was able to put things in perspective for Unicoi County, which won the Three Rivers Conference regular-season title and made it to the District 1-AA finals before ending with a pair of disappointing losses.

"Overall, we had a good year," Gillis said. "We had some injuries down the stretch. We had two starters out today. Hopefully, that means we have some good younger guys coming up. I hate seeing the seniors not get an opportunity to move forward."

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