Rangers roll over Huskies

By Tim Chambers

   Unaka traded the gold ball for the baseball on Thursday afternoon at Claude Holsclaw Field, and the end result was their first Watauga Valley Conference win.
   Behind 11 hits and several North Greene miscues, Unaka won a five-inning affair 14-4 Thursday afternoon.
   North Greene jumped on top 1-0 in the top of the first on a home run by Allen Guinn. After surrendering a double and walk to the next two batters, Tee Blevins reached back for some old-fashioned heat, and struck out the next three hitters to end the Husky threat.
   "I was trying to get back in the groove from basketball," said Blevins. "Once we get in some practices we can have a good team."
   Unaka jumped on top 2-1 in the bottom of the first aided by three walk and a single. Cody Collins led off with a single and advanced to second on a sharp single by Blevins. Lewis walked to load the bases.
   Huskins then delivered a sacrifice fly, scoring Collins. Consecutive walks to Terry Tabor and Daniel McInturff brought home Blevins.
   Blevins cruised into the third before North Greene struck for three runs with the big blow being a J.P. Johnson two-run homer.
   Unaka rallied for four in the bottom half with the help of two North Greene errors and two hit batsman. From there, Blevins again delivered a timely single, helping Unaka to a 6-4 advantage.
   The Rangers used a four-run fourth to go up 10-4. Tyler McCann started the inning with a double and scored on a single by McInturff.
   Pasquale lined a double to left scoring McInturff. Ryan Bowers crushed a two-bagger off the center field fence, followed by Blevins' third hit of the day for a six-run Unaka lead.
   Unaka finished the Huskies in the fifth as Rusty Chambers led off with a walk and Brent Huskins reached on an error. McCann lined a single to center, scoring Chambers, and McInturff followed with a line drive that brought home Huskins.
   A wild pitch allowed McInturff to score followed by a Pasquale infield single that plated Huskins for the winning run.
   "It was good to have all the basketball players back," said McInturff. "We haven't got to practice much and those guys have only been out one day, so we will get better soon."
   Blevins went the distance for the win, allowing seven hits and recording six strikeouts while issuing only three walks. Blevins banged out three hits to lead the Rangers while McInurff, Pasquale and McCann added two each.
   "It wasn't pretty but it a big conference win," said Rangers head coach Mike "Acie" Ensor. "With Cloudland tomorrow and Unicoi County on Saturday, it doesn't get any easier.
   "It was good to have everyone back today. We'll work hard to get to where we need to be."