For a change, EHS gets off to good start

By Marvin Birchfield

   Conditions were not exactly ideal for baseball on Monday, but the rain and drizzle turned into a bright, sunshiny day for Elizabethton.
   The Cyclones were adamantly enthused afterwards with their 7-0 victory against J.J. Kelly, as it had been awhile since Elizabethton won in its first outing of the season.
   "This is great -- I don't remember an Elizabethton team starting off the season 1-0," said Elizabethton coach Steve McKinney. "That Richlands team plays good ball, and we were worried about getting it in, but the kids played great."
   Elizabethton jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the second inning, when the Indians had some trouble at the mound.
   The first run of the evening was scored by Kelly Adkins, after the Indian's Garrett Amburgey committed two walks and nailed two batters at the plate.
   "I was pleased with our pitching today, but hats-off to Elizabethton," said J.J. Kelly coach Dave Wyrick. "They executed and we didn't. That was our first time out this year, but I am pleased."
   A hit from Nathan Bishop toward third base drove home Nat Treadway to put the Cyclones up by two runs.
   "We've worked hard on hitting the ball this year. APO helped us in building a batting cage," said McKinney. "We've worked on playing defense, and it's paid-off. We done a great job today and the effort was there from our kids."
   Elizabethton took advantage of its strength on the bases, as Mitchell Blevins came home off a bad throw to third base, and Alex Graves scored on a steal to home.
   J.J. Kelly had trouble in getting its sticks going, as its only hit of the night came in the top of the third frame on a single from Jeff Allen.
   "My seniors stepped up -- Kelly Adkins and Travis Bowers did a good job at the plate, and Zack Stipe did a super job on the hill," said McKinney. "He threw strikes and we played good defense behind him."
   A solid showing from Stipe at the mound prohibited the Indians from making a rally, as he retired five batters with strikeouts.
   "We came out hitting pretty good and my defense backed me up real well," said Stipe. "I struggled just a little -- I had trouble hitting my spots, but I've got to give it to my defense for they made all the plays."
   Elizabethton got its offense rolling again in the bottom of the fourth, when Ricky Garrison ripped a line drive down the third-base line.
   Trevor Hyder followed with a shot to center field, which brought home Barrison.
   The Indians continued to have trouble in stopping the runner on base during the fifth inning, as two runs were scored off of stolen bases.
   "The last time we called a pitch out on the squeeze and didn't execute there, and they ran the double steal," said Wyrick. "I expect a little more out of these guys, because they've been with me for a year, but we'll work hard and get better."
   Nat Treadway and Ryan Kennedy did a good job running the bases, as both players scored off of steals to home after reaching base on walks.
   After five innings of wet play, the umpires finally decided to put an end to the contest, and let the Cyclone celebration begin.
   "Since I've been here we haven't had a first win, so hopefully this will get us ready for the tournament coming up," said Stipe. "We did everything pretty good today, and I thought we fielded the ball well. We didn't make any errors."
   The Cyclones will face Cloudland on Thursday at home, where they look to add onto their early momentum.
   "Right now we're going to take them one game at a time, and look to get better each time out," said McKinney.