Cyclones, Unaka split in JV action

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   When the boys from Stoney Creek and Elizabethton hook up for a baseball game, regardless of whether it is junior varsity or varsity action, one can always count on a contest fought tooth and nail.
   The Rangers and Cyclones tangled in a junior varsity tilt at Elizabethton High School on Friday afternoon with Unaka taking game one 11-7, and the Cyclones gaining a split in game two 15-5.
   In game one, Jeremy Cook and Daniel McInturff combined on a six-hitter in the Rangers victory. Cody Eggers was dealt the defeat on the mound for the Cyclones.
   Unaka scored three runs in the top of the first inning of play. Rusty Chambers reached on an error by the second baseman and Terry Tabor singled.
   First baseman Randy Swearingen tripled in the runners and scored on a Brent Huskins groundout.
   Jake Berkley started things off for the Cyclones reaching on a walk and then swiping second base. Ricky Garrison followed Berkley with a single and stolen base of his own. Eggers walked and Tyler Shaw ripped a single, collecting two RBI's.
   Troop Harris reached base after being beaned by Cook. Trevor Hyder then doubled home Shaw with the Cyclones' fourth run of the inning. A Berkley flyout ended the frame for the Cyclones. At the end of one, the score was 4-3 in favor of the Cyclones.
   Eggers retired the Rangers with a one-two-three inning for the Cyclones. The Rangers did have an opportunity on a Chambers triple, before Chambers was tagged out by Kelly Grindstaff on a throw from Eggers.
   The second inning was a quiet one for EHS as Garrison led things off with a walk. Garrison was stranded as three consecutive strikeouts ended the top of the second for the 'Clones.
   Unaka rallied by plating three runs in the third with three singles, a walk and a error. Tabor picked up his second hit, followed by a walk to Swearingen. Huskins singled as did Cook for the Rangers allowing Unaka to take the lead 6-4.
   The lead was brief as Elizabethton grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the third as the Cyclones received singles from Hyder, Gavin Dugger, and Garrison as well as a walk to Grindstaff to score three runs, taking a 7-6 advantage.
   Wasting little time, the Rangers said enough of that as they reached Eggers for five runs in the top of the fourth. Tabor once again swung a hot stick recording another single as did McInturuff and Huskins.
   Chambers and Ryan Bowers eked out walks and Swearingen reached on an error to provide the offensive onslaught by the Rangers.The Cyclones went as quiet as a mouse in the fourth as the Ranger pitchers picked up two strikeouts and a line drive out to diminish the Cyclones chances of a rally. Unaka was up 11-7 at the end of four complete.
   Eggers managed to keep the Rangers within reach in the top of the fifth. After a quick out by Chad Lewis, Chambers picked up a double. Two straight popflys ended the inning for Unaka.
   Dugger went down looking to open things up for the 'Clones in the bottom frame. Berkley reached on a single, stole second and was gunned down by Huskins trying to take third. Garrison was issued a walk and Eggers went down swinging to end the contest with Unaka taking game one 11-7.
   Game two saw the Rangers jump on top 2-0 in the first on one hit and one error. EHS didn't let the dust settle before they plated four runs to take a 4-2 lead.
   Three straight walks to Berkley, Garrison, and Hyder opened the door for Tyler Shaw to pick up two RBI's with a single. Grindstaff walked and Harris picked up a RBI after being hit by a pitch. Dugger also picked up a RBI on a base-on-balls.
   The Rangers tried to rebound in the top of the second as Travis Pasqualie was hit by a pitch and Jordan Ensor scorched a double. Cyclones hurler Garrison was able to get Brian Self to fly out and struck out Kurt Kemp to end the Ranger rally.
   The Cyclones managed to get two runners aboard in their portion of the inning as Hyder walked and Mitchell Blevins picked up a single. Both runners were left stranded as Tony Sullivan struckout looking. At the end of two, the Cyclones held a 4-2 advantage.
   Unaka evened things at 4-4 after picking up two in the top of the third. Thomas Guess opened things up with a single followed by a walk to Bowers. Swearingen picked up a RBI on a sacrifice fly and Bowers scored on a wild pitch.
   A highly charged Cyclone team put the Rangers away in the bottom of the third. The Cyclones scored seven runs on three hits, two walks, a hit batter, and a passed ball on a third strike. Berkley and Sullivan singled, while Harris doubled for the 'Clones.
   Garrison and Hyder were issued free passes, and Blevins was plunked by a pitch. When all was said and done, the Cyclones led 11-4 after three complete.
   Unaka scored their last run in the fourth as Ensor reached on a walk and was driven home on a single by Guess. This was the last hurrah for the Rangers in game two as EHS added three more in the bottom of the fourth to take the commanding 15-5 lead.
   Berkley was hit by a pitch, Hyder drew his third walk of the game, and Matt Fox picked up an RBI on a single. Blevins walked and Sullivan picked up two RBI's on a single to place the final nail in the proverbial coffin.
   "We'll use this game to build on," said coach Ryan Witten after the contest. The win was the first of the season for the Cyclones with a record of 1-4, while the Rangers record stands at 2-1.
   Garrison was the winner pitcher for the Cyclones giving up five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.