Rangers best Cyclones

By Ivan Sanders

   Baseball is a game where a team that uses what the opposition gives them will most likely be the team that comes off the field with a win.
   Unaka did just that on Friday as it capitalized on six hits and seven walks in the first two innings to post 10 runs on the scoreboard and hold off a late Elizabethton rally to take a 13-10 victory at Warren Miller Field in the David Crockett Invitational.
   Chris Hurt struggled early with control as Coach Mike Ensor's Rangers took what the junior hurler gave and plated the ten runs. Jeremy McCann and Ben Cole picked up two hits in the first two innings while teammates Randy Swearingen and Chad Lewis each notched one base knock each.
   Elizabethton was able to respond with four runs in the bottom of the second as Daniel Range singled and Travis Bowers stroked a triple to plate Range. Relief pitcher Zach Stipe was issued first after taking a Swearingen pitch on the torso and was followed by center fielder Jeremy Hodge who laced a single to plate Bowers.
   Nat Treadway was given the start in left and responded big by ripping into a Swearingen offering to score courtesy runner Nathan Bishop and Hodge for 2 RBI's.
   The "Zack Attack" was in high gear as the young southpaw put the Rangers in check after spelling Hurt in the second. Unaka was able to plate one in the third as Chris "Norm" Arnold picked up a single and took second on a passed ball.
   Arnold was picked up by designated hitter Ryan Bowers who took a Stipe offering for a single to account for the only run in the Ranger third.
   Michael Porter notched a single in the third, but other than that Swearingen did a pretty good job of keep the 'Clones off-balance with a variety of pitches.
   Stipe was finally able to allow his defense a breather by getting Daniel McInturff to go down swinging and tantilized Aaron Dugger and McCann with pitches that the Ranger batsman could do little with except pop them up on the infield for an easy one-two-three frame, the first for the 'Clones.
   EHS tallied four more in the bottom of the fourth stanza. B.J. Miller was hit by a pitch and Treadway picked up his second hit of the contest. Justin Williams, who has been on an offensive tear of late, drove Miller in with a single.
   Cyclone catcher Jordan Bray poked a single to right and courtesy runner Adam Greenlee swiped second to place runners at second and third for Bowers. Bowers didn't dissappoint as he tore the cover off the ball for a base-clearing double to make the score 12-8 at the end of four complete.
   Unaka edged the score up to 13 on their side in the top portion of the fifth as Arnold reached on an error charged to Kelly Adkins at first base. It was a costly error as Lewis picked up his second hit and Ryan Bowers picked up his second RBI and second hit of the contest.
   Each defense stepped up their play in the bottom of the fifth and the entire sixth inning with the highlight being a 6-3 double play turned by the Cyclones Miller with a relay to first in time to nab a speedy McCann on a nice snag by Adkins.
   Unaka added their last run as Cole led off with his third hit of the game, a triple past the diving Porter in right field. Cole scored on a ball hit by Chris Arnold that was throw errantly by the 'Clones Miller at short.
   The Cyclones closed out their scoring as Bowers reached on a walk. After two flyouts by Porter and pinch-hitter Hurt, Hodge picked up Bowers with a stand up double. Miller laced a single to score Hodge for the final Cyclone run of the contest.
   Unaka finished the contest with 13 runs and 11 hits. The Rangers left 9 base runners stranded. For the Cyclones, they finished with 10 runs on 11 hits and stranded six runners for the contest.