KNOXVILLE – THE HISTORIC RAMSEY HOUSE – Under beautiful sunny skies and with temperatures in the 70’s the Highland Rim Distillers opened the season with a dramatic come from behind win. Clutch defense and clutch hitting was the key to the victory.
The season opening festivities kicked off just before noon. The two teams were accompanied into the park by a Civil War fife and drum. The teams lined the field between 1st and 3rd base as a barber shop quartet sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. A few announcements were made and then Tim Burchett, (the Mayor of Knox Country) and President Abraham Lincoln were invited out to each throw a first pitch.
The Distillers won the bat toss and elected to take the field first. In the 1st inning the Holstons were held scoreless while the Distillers were able to manufacture one run. The Holstons came back with 2 in the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead. The bats came alive in the 3rd for the Highland Rim team. With 2 hands down Cactus singled and then Nips hit a line shot over the center fielder’s head and coasted into 2nd with an RBI double. The Conjuror and Shooter followed with RBI singles to bring the run total to 3 for the inning. After 3 innings the score stood in favor of the Distillers, 4-2.
The Holstons responded with 4 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 7th while the Distillers bats were held silent. Going into the bottom of the 8th things were looking bleak for this visitors from the Highland Rim. Trailing by a score of 9-4 the distillers got some timely hitting by Hamspoon, The Conjuror, Cracker Jack, Cornstalk and Gingerbread. The rally resulted in 3 more runs tallied to bring the team within 2. The Distillers trailed by a score of 7-9.
In the final inning the Holstons were retired without plating a run. With just 3 outs to go Stick came to the plate and hit a ball that settled just in front of the catcher. He raced down the line and beat the throw to first. Hamspoon batted next and singled, Cactus knocked in Stick and advanced to 2nd on the throw. With the winning run at 2nd base the Holstons were forced to play the outfield shallow. Nips hit a fly ball and was out on the bound but Hamspoon scored on the play to tie the game. With the winning run still at second, The Conjuror flew out. With 2 hands down Cracker Jack dug in and hit a fly ball that was just deep enough to give the shallow outfield problems. The bound was missed and Cactus hustled home to end the game.
The two teams met in the middle of the field to congratulate each other on the well played, hard fought game. The Holstons were true hosts as they presented the game ball to the Distillers. The Highland Rim team awarded Cracker Jack the game ball for his game winning walk off single and stellar play at 1st base.
The Highland Rim Distillers will play again on April 19th as they host the Oak Hill Travelers. The game will be held at Noon at Mansker’s Station in Goodlettsville.