Cherokee Nichols picked up three hits, including a home run, and drove in four to power Johnson City to a 5-2 win over Burlington on Friday night.
Nichols started his stellar night by coming up with the bases loaded in the first inning and singling to left field to drive in Ashton King and Ricky Jimenez. After Joe Vetrano scored on a Burlington throwing error, Johnson City held a 3-0 lead after one inning.
The next time Nichols came up, he led off the fourth with a 413-foot blast to left field, a no-doubter that marked the slugger’s third home run of the summer and gave the Doughboys a 4-2 lead.
Johnson City would secure their final run of the night when Nichols came up in the fifth inning and singled again, this time to send home Jimenez. Nichols finished his night 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs, while King went 3-for-5. Aside from that pair, the rest of the Johnson City lineup tallied only two hits.
The Doughboys backed up the big nights from Nichols and King with dominating performances on the mound. After giving up one run in the first inning and one run in the second inning, Seth Willis kept the Sock Puppets off the board in the third and fourth frames before handing it off to his teammate at Caldwell Community College, Will Westbrock.
Westbrock started his outing by retiring the first seven Sock Puppets he faced, and finished off three scoreless innings in relief with only one hit allowed. Gianluca Shinn picked up the two-inning save, his third of the season. In all, Johnson City shut out Burlington over the final seven frames of the game.
The win marks only the fourth time this season where Johnson City has scored fewer than seven runs and still walked away with a win. The Doughboys are now 4-25 when held to six or fewer runs.
Johnson City will look to string together three straight wins for the first time this season when they return to Burlington Athletic Stadium on Saturday night for Game 2 of the series against the Sock Puppets. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Fans can access live radio coverage of every Doughboys game this summer by visiting: https://www.mlb.com/appalachian-league/johnson-city/fans/audio-listen-live.