Unaka drives Huskies to defeat

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Unaka Rangers entered Tuesday's contest with North Greene wanting to keep things rolling through their conference schedule.
   With Randy Swearingen on the mound, the Rangers dominated the Huskies with a Swearingen 17-strikeout performance en route to an 8-0 victory at Holsclaw Field.
   "When he's on like that, he's tough," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor. "If you tell me he's going to strikeout 17 or 18, I'd say we're going to win a lot of ballgames."
   "The one thing you worry about when he's on like that, is not being able to make the play behind him." he said. "The kids tend to go to sleep, but they made the plays and that's pretty good baseball right there."
   Swearingen only allowed two hits in the contest, striking out the side four times in the game.
   The Rangers struggled to get the bats on the balls early, eventually scoring in the fourth inning when Cody Collins reached across the plate on a passed ball to take a 1-0 lead.
   "We didn't hit it well today," Ensor said. "Everything we hit, we hit right at them. The last three or four innings, we started hitting the ball hard. It took us a while to get our timing down. Their kid (Andy Williams) had a good little curve ball going. We finally started hitting it on the nose."
   Unaka came alive in the fifth inning when Daniel McInturff and Tee Blevins batted their way on base. Thomas Guess and Cody Collins tipped in two RBI singles, adding two more runs to the Unaka cause.
   Chad Lewis walked, setting up a Brent Huskins RBI single. Lewis eventually scored on a throwing error from the catcher, taking a 5-0 lead.
   Ryan Bowers, Chris Arnold and Tee Blevins loaded the bases for Unaka in the sixth inning. Bowers scoring on a wild throw, while Guess and Collins sent Arnold and Blevins across the plate with an 8-0 lead intact.
   The defense followed up to close the side for the win.
   The Huskies had a scary moment during the game as Blair Platt tossed his arm out from center field. He was escorted from the facility and taken to a nearby hospital.
   The Rangers now look ahead to close their conference schedule out with University High and North Greene next week.
   Added Ensor: "I really talked to the guys about this being a big conference game. Today was a big win as far as setting the conference up. We've got a chance to go in at UH and play for a conference championship."
   Collins and Guess both had a single and two RBIs for Unaka. Lewis was two for two with a run for the Rangers.
   Unaka travels to West Greene on Wednesday, before hosting Chuckey-Doak at home in a doubleheader on Friday.