LaFollette’s 11-12 All-Stars won their first game in District 6 pool play Monday night, and boy was it a doozy.
Playing in front of a hometown crowd at Liberty Park, LaFollette went two extra innings to beat the McMinn County Nationals, 7-3.
The game was a scoreless pitching duel until the top of the fifth inning when LaFollette’s Aaron Sanders drilled a line drive to a gap down the right field line to drive in the first run.
Later, Sanders scored on a sacrifice by Kaleb Jarrett to give the home team a 2-0.
McMinn County pulled ahead, 3-2, in the bottom of the fifth when Zeb McKinney homered to center field with two out.
LaFollette catcher Darin Gillenwater tied the game 3-3 with a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning.
Jeffers, who struck out 10 batters for LaFollette during the first five innings, maxed out his pitch count in the bottom of the sixth.
Jarrett came on in relief with two out and runners on first and second base.
He tracked down a grounder and fired to first base for the third out to sent the game into extra innings.
LaFollette faced a similar situation in the bottom of the seventh when Isaiah Vibbert took the mound in relief of Jarrett with two out and runners on second and third.
Vibbert inherited a batter who had two strikes and enticed him to swing at the next pitch for a strikeout to extend the game another inning.
Vibbert doubled to get on board in the top of the eighth. Virgil White broke the scoring drought and put LaFollette ahead for good, 4-3, by driving in Vibbert.
Nick Wells smacked a 2-run double to give the home team a 6-3 cushion. Jeffers drove in Wells with a base hit for what turned out to be the final run of the game.
Vibbert and his defense held McMinn County hitters in check during the bottom of the eighth inning to preserve the victory and even LaFollette’s record at 1-1 in all-star tournament play.
LaFollette was scheduled to travel to Sevierville yesterday (Wed.) for the final game of pool play.
Tournament games will begin July 3.
In other action Monday night, LaFollette’s 11-12 Softball All-Stars won their first game in pool play with a 12-6 decision over Tazewell/New Tazewell (TNT).
LaFollette was scheduled to travel to TNT on Tuesday and host Maryville on Wednesday to close out pool play.
LaFollette’s other team Little League all-stars teams (9-10 baseball, 13-16 softball) were 0-2 going into Monday’s games.