Unaka sweeps HV Middle

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Unaka Junior Rangers baseball squad simply took advantage of errors and solid defense Thursday afternoon.
   Facing the Happy Valley Junior Warriors, Unaka used the first and fifth innings to earn a 17-3 victory in the first outing, while a first inning prevailed 5-2 in the second inning follow-up at Cannon-Gouge Park.
   "We finally put it all together and did the little things," said Unaka head coach Matt Wilson. "We swung the bats better than we've done all year today and Happy Valley's got a good team."
   "It was a total team effort," he said. "Everybody did their job today."
   The Rangers opened with a bang in the first inning after Jeff Wilson knocked in Michael Carpenter for the first score of the game.
   Andrew Church followed that up with a two-run double, before Adam Colbaugh and Travis Carden took advantage of pitching errors with stolen runs, taking a 6-0 lead.
   Unaka came back in the second inning with another Carpenter run from a pitching error to take a 7-0 advantage early.
   The Junior Warriors took advantage of a Spencer Crawford double in the second inning, as Tyler Blevins put Crawford across the plate on an errored shot to cut into the lead.
   Happy Valley used strong defense leading up to the fourth inning when it got more runs on the board.
   The squad got a single from Crawford and a walk from Jesse Richardson, setting up a big two-run single from Tyler Blevins to close the gap at four.
   Then they simply lost control and the Junior Rangers rallied back with nine runs of their own.
   Adam Colbaugh opened with a double, followed by a Travis Carden walk before Terry Campbell got a two-run single. Nick Papantoniou and Jeff Wilson got back-to-back RBIs on a double and put out.
   Andrew Church singled a run across the plate, before Colbaugh climbed back with a ribbie of his own. Unaka closed after a two-run double from Campbell to take a 17-3 lead.
   It was too much for the Junior Warriors to overcome, thus starting the second game after the Rangers' victory.
   Unaka opened the second contest with an RBI single from Wilson, scoring Carpenter. Church used a sacrificed fly to score Wilson, while Taylor and Colbaugh scored on a double.
   The Warriors flew out in three straight at bats during their frame, allowing Unaka to put another run on the board after a Church RBI.
   Happy Valley got on board in the second after a Spencer Crawford single.
   Crawford scored on a Brandon Jaynes putout, while Tyler Blevins stole home on a pitching error to cut the game at 5-2.
   However, it was too dark to finish play as Unaka took the sweep.
   Michael Carpenter took the first victory on the mound, while Larry Creed was served with the loss for the Junior Warriors. Hunter Taylor ousted Daniel Shankle in the second outing for the win.
   The Junior Rangers play Holston Valley in a doubleheader on Saturday.