On a hot, humid July evening the all stars of New Tazewell and Putnam took to the diamond for game one of the 2016 Senior League All Star championship held at David Crockett High School. New Tazewell had to win game one to force a deciding game two but Putnam knew that they could defeat the NTAS since they already had one win against them, albeit in a controversial one.
Putnam held that advantage plus got the right to choose which dugout they wanted and of course they picked the shady one placing NTAS directly into the 90-plus degree sunlight the entire game. NTAS fans could not underestimate the advantage Putnam held because of this as there were no shady spots in the dugout to provide shelter from the blistering sun.
Putnam and New Tazewell went scoreless during the first inning of the contest and even during the second inning the teams failed to place runs on the scoreboard. Putnam finally got on the board during the third inning to lead 1-0.
The New Tazewell pitching had tired arms and the result was Putnam adding three more runs in the top of the fourth. Losing 4-0, the NTAS were already exhausted and were not getting any relief in the hot dugout.
By the top of the sixth inning, Putnam enjoyed a 6-0 lead and then added a seventh run. New Tazewell looked as if they were exhausted to the point of not putting a run on the board but they had one last burst of energy left and a Ryley Hager single, a base on balls by Ty Stone followed by a big double by Elijah Beason helped push their one and what would be their only run across the plate. They filled the bases up later in the inning but failed to plate any other runs. Putnam went on to score a total of nine runs to win the game and the Tennessee Senior League State Championship. They celebrated in a huge pile of humanity near the pitcher’s mound. The NTAS watched as Putnam celebrated but both teams quickly lined up for the post game handshakes.
New Tazewell’s run had ended but the players had the respect of their coaches including manager Jonathan Beason who said this of the team, “They have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. They banded together as a team and finished second in the state, setting a record for a New Tazewell Little League team.”
There were some complaints questioning player paperwork for the opposing team, but nothing could be confirmed.
New Tazewell fans and players left to celebrate their second in the state finish, stopping on the way back into town for one last get together and celebrating with a dinner in a much cooler place.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.