Harrell, Jr. Bucs subdue 'Landers

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- If baseball performances were paintings, University High pitcher Drew Harrell would have created a masterpiece Thursday.
   Harrell did damage on the mound and at the plate in the Junior Bucs' 12-2 win over the Cloudland Highlanders at Mooney Field.
   Harrell pitched a three-hitter on the mound, and went 4-for-4 with three RBI's at the plate.
   "This wasn't one person getting the win," Harrell said. "This was a total team effort. We all showed encouragement, and just came together as a team. And they played great behind me."
   The win was University High's first of the season, and brought some relief to University High head coach Joe Borden.
   "I was hoping it was going to happen today," Borden said about his team coming together. "I knew it was eventually going to happen. Last year it happened real late in the season, and I was hoping it would happen a lot earlier this year. We finally pulled it off today.
   While the Junior Buccaneers were celebrating their victory, Cloudland head coach Jeff Bradley was thinking about what might have been.
   "We pretty much stunk this one up," Bradley said. "It was about as bad a team could play I guess."
   The Junior Bucs were ahead 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, but they exploded for six runs in the frame to send the contest to its conclusion.
   Bradley says this game was over with long before that.
   "This game was over with after the first inning," Bradley said. "I could see it in our kids eyes. They just didn't have the desire, and the fire to be out there. This game was over with about the time it started.
   With the exception of a two-run forth by the 'Landers, Harrell was virtually unstoppable on the mound.
   "Fourth inning there we actually started to swing the bat," Bradley said. "First two or three innings we stood and watched too many pitches go by."
   Even though Bradley was disappointed, he did have good things to say about Harrell.
   "He's a good pitcher," Bradley said. "He moves the ball well, hits the locations well. But we weren't swinging the bats. That's what we've got to do. We've got to start swinging the bats, and make somebody make a mistake like they make us do."
   The Junior Bucs were leading 2-0 in the bottom of the third, and had two men on base when Ben Shew popped a three-run homer to make it a 5-0 game.
   "Great hit, good job," Bradley said about Shew. "He caught the ball just right, and put it out of there. He's a good hitter. He hit it off a good hard pitcher, too. It's just one of those things that happened."
   The 'Landers did cut University High's lead down to 5-2 in the top of the fourth when T.J. Lunsford's double scored James Gardner and Caleb Denton, but that's as close as the "Landers got.
   Shew and Garrison Burton each had two hits for University High, as the Junior Bucs finished the afternoon 13 hits altogether.
   Dale Baker, Denton and Lunsford each had hits for Cloudland.
   The "Landers are now 2-6, but Bradley believes he will have his team ready by tournament time.
   "It really doesn't start until the tournament," Bradley said. "The biggest thing is we need to improve. Wins and losses don't mean as much to me as long as we improve, and we're ready to play come tournament time."
   The Highlanders will take on the Johnson County Longhorns today in Roan Mountain.
   "They're a good ball team," Bradley said. "We've played them close two games in a row. Hopefully, we'll get the sticks a rollin tomorrow."