Zecchini to start in win-or-go-home game

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Blue Devils need another brilliant start from junior ace vs. Hancock

By Robby O'Daniel

With Jellico ace Bobby Zecchini pitching the way he is, it’s a no-doubter who the Blue Devils want on the mound in a win-or-go-home situation.

Zecchini, who has tossed two no-hitters this season, will take the hill for Jellico when the Blue Devils host Hancock County in a district tournament play-in game on Thursday night (tonight), said Jellico head coach Randy Moses.

Earlier this season, back on April 10, Zecchini tossed one of his no-hitters, striking out 16 batters, at Hancock County, with Jellico besting the Indians 2-1 on the road, Moses said.

“We beat them 2-1 with him throwing at their place, and he’s throwing the ball real well, so that’s our best shot,” Moses said. “And hopefully we’ll swing the bats, score a few runs.”

The two teams split the season series, however, as Hancock County beat Jellico 16-15 on April 11 when the contest was called prematurely because of darkness.

In that game, Moses said Zecchini had a three-run homer over the fence.

Zecchini followed up his seven-inning no-hitter at Hancock County on April 10 with another no-no — this time of the five-inning variety — against Cosby on April 15 at home. He struck out 14 batters in that game.

In his last pitching outing, Zecchini was the hard-luck loser, as he struck out 14 batters in seven innings and gave up one hit and one unearned run, but his team lost to Oneida, 1-0 last Thursday, Moses said.

In his last three starts, according to Moses, Zecchini has pitched 19 innings, striking out 44 batters and giving up three unearned runs — and just one hit.

“Yeah, and it was a bunt,” Moses said.

The Blue Devils were successful in play last Saturday at J. Frank White Academy when Jellico picked up two wins, a 13-1 victory over Scott and a 9-8 win over J. Frank White, Moses said.

“We beat J. Frank 9-8,” Moses said. “We came back. We were down 8-2 and came back and tied it up and come all the way back and won it 9-8.”

Ben Hughes drove in the go-ahead run for the Blue Devils against JFWA, Moses said.

“In that one game, we had some guys that put the ball in play, kept it going,” Moses said. “Jacob Adams, Steven Baird and Noah Albertini had real good games at the plate.”

Hunter Suto closed out the JFWA game with four innings pitched in relief, Moses said.

“Hunter came in and pitched the last four innings,” Moses said. “He hadn’t been able to pitch for awhile, and he didn’t give up any runs.”

Noah Albertini pitched in the game against Scott, and due to low pitch count, he also pitched against JFWA, Moses said.

Lady Blue Devils fall to Cosby, Washburn

The Jellico High School softball team lost home district games against Cosby and Washburn this past week.

Cosby defeated the Lady Blue Devils 15-3 last Friday, said Jellico head coach Nancy Douglas, while Washburn beat Jellico 5-2 on Tuesday.

“Did a little better today, we played seven innings today; we went all seven,” Nancy Douglas said on Tuesday night. “Ended up losing 5-2 and Washburn pretty much cleaned up on us at Washburn when we went over there but played a lot better at home today.”

After a collision that put both girls out of action in a game in April against Cumberland Gap, Tiara Oaks returned to play last Friday, while Leona Douglas returned on Tuesday, Nancy Douglas said.

Leona Douglas wasted no time, as she scored a run and stole two bases against Washburn, Nancy Douglas said.

Hollie Seibers struck out eight batters, Nancy Douglas said, but the team had defensive errors against Washburn.

The Lady Blue Devils were scheduled to close out the season on senior night last Wednesday (yesterday) against Hancock County.

District tournament play begins next week at Sevier County High School, she said.

“We do not play until Monday, and we will play probably Hancock County, looking like,” Nancy Douglas said. “And we are guaranteed two games, so we will probably play Monday and Tuesday at Sevier County High School. It’s kind of a central location for all of us.”