Pioneers shackle Cyclones

By Ivan Sanders

   A few words from a previous game that should have been better placed lit a fire under the David Crockett Pioneers way before they even took the field against Elizabethton, and the result was a total whitewash against the Cyclones.
   The Pioneers proved why they have won 10 of their last 12 games as they used the hot hitting of Kevin Hammons and a strong pitching performance by Matt Taylor in taking a 10-0, five-inning contest at Warren Miller Field.
   Crockett wasted little time in putting some runs on the scoreboard as they crossed the dish twice in the bottom of the first. Wes Dulaney doubled and Hammons stepped up to take one yard against Cyclone pitcher Travis Bowers.
   EHS couldn't get anything going as it continued to hit the ball right at someone, paving the way for easy innings for Crockett's Taylor.
   Crockett added a solo run in the second as Dulaney and Hammons teamed up for a single and double, respectively, to plate the third RBI of the game for Hammons.
   Neither team could get anything going in the third nor the top of the fourth for the Cyclones. Crockett started making more noise in their portion of the fourth frame.
   Chad Bennett singled, Donny Bryant doubled, Dulaney reached on an error, and then it was "Hammer Hammons" time again.
   Hammons spanked the daylights out of a Bowers offering for his second round tripper of the game and his sixth RBI.
   Meanwhile, Taylor kept the Cyclones handcuffed as only Justin Williams and Joseph Taylor could touch the junior hurler on the day.
   Leading 8-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Pioneer faithful sensed that the beginning of the end was night.
   After pinch-hitter Travis Butler grounded out, Bryant reached on his second hit of the contest. Dulaney picked up his third base knock of the contest and Hammons loaded the bases as the Cyclones looked to keep him from doing anymore damage.
   Senior Daniel Range, who had come in relief of Bowers in the inning, needed some help to work out of a messy situation.
   Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Lance Campbell was wanted to end the contest with his at-bat.
   Campbell managed to get enough bat on a Range offering to force a play at the plate on a head-first slide by Bryant. The throw was on time, but Bryant did a good job of getting his hand on the dish before the tag for the 10-run rule victory.
   Taylor struck out seven Cyclones while walking only three for the win with no runs given up. His counterpart, Bowers, gave up eight hits and eight runs while striking out two and issuing one free pass.
   The Cyclones now must regroup to tangle with neighboring Unaka High on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. as the Crockett Invitational continues at Warren Miller Field.