Lady Cyclones control Hampton for 10-2 win

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones pulled together all elements of their game Thursday evening, en route to an impressive 10-2 victory over the struggling Hampton Lady Bulldogs.
   Both teams have struggled at times this season, but the Cyclones made a statement against the Lady Bulldogs.
   Cyclone assistant coach Melissa McClain summed up the collective effort.
   "We finally played as a team," McClain said. "We had a good team effort offensively and defensively."
   The Cyclones took the lead early in the bottom of the first. Doubles by Sarah Smith, and Katie Hubbard, along with defensive miscues by the Lady Bulldogs, gave the Cyclones an early 3-0 advantage.
   Elizabethton flashed some leather in the top half of the second frame after a leadoff single by Kristen Newbern put runners on base. Left fielder Lauren Pittman ran the count full against Cyclone pitcher Sarah Ruston before putting the ball in play towards second base.
   A flawless 6-4-3 double play resulted from the play, and motivated the Cyclone defense for duration of the contest. The remainder of the inning would go quietly following the defensive gem, as the Cyclone offense was laying in wait.
   Three hits and five defensive errors would equal three additional runs for Elizabethton in the second inning. The Lady Bulldogs simply could not stop the bleeding as nine Cyclones came to bat during the frame.
   Trailing 6-0, the Bulldogs scored two unearned runs off reliever Jessica Robinson. After the spurt of offensive production, the Bulldog bats fell silent as Robinson rebounded to pitch three scoreless innings for the Cyclones.
   Both teams went quietly in the third, but the Cyclones added some insurance in the fourth inning as catcher Brittany Hilton singled and came around to score later in the tilt.
   Leading 7-2, Elizabethton went on cruise control for the rest of the game. Pitching and defense saw a wide range of contributors, as three different pitchers combined to prevent any earned runs.
   Defensively the Cyclones only surrendered one error, while the offense continued to put together key hits with runners in scoring position.
   Meanwhile the Bulldogs could not find the winning solution. Eight defensive blunders, and the inability to get key hits in the clutch placed the
   While Hampton struggled, the Lady Cyclones continued to apply pressure. In the bottom of the sixth, Elizabethton put the game out of reach with another offensive barrage.
   A leadoff walk, a fielder's choice, and three consecutive base hits were good enough to post three more runs for Elizabethton.
   Trailing by eight and needing a miracle, the Lady Bulldogs were just to little to late to pull off a victory. Two leadoff hits and a free pass were not enough to stem the tide, as the Bulldogs fell to the Cyclones 10-2.
   After the contest Hampton skipper Patrick Kelly discussed the problems of his young squad.
   "We couldn't pull it all together today," Kelly said. "We will keep trying to improve. We are young and we need more experience."
   Pleased with her team's effort, Elizabethton head coach Angie Barker hopes the victory will be an example for the rest of the season.
   "We played relaxed today," Barker said. "That was the difference today, because it all fell together."