Cyclones too much for Devils

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starh.com

   The broom was drug out of the closet at Joe O'Brien Field as the Elizabethton Cyclones completed a feat many cannot claim, and that was in sweeping their two regular-season meetings with the Unicoi County Blue Devils, who have been demons on the baseball diamond for many years.
   On a night where the senior Cyclones were recognized along with their parents, Elizabethton put together their most complete game to date as they outhit, outpitched, and made the plays when they counted in the field to preserve a 6-2 Cyclone victory in an appropriate way to close out the seniors last regular-season home game.
   "I'm proud of my seniors and can't say enough about them in their contribution to this team," said a happy Cyclone mentor, Steve McKinney. "This game was a team effort and everyone of them did a great job in helping us take this big win."
   Although it was Senior Night, junior Travis Bowers was the Cyclone making the loudest noise as he went a perfect 4 for 4, including three mammoth doubles that showed the way for the Cyclones in their 10-hit attack on the night. It was the most hits by the Cyclones in a single game this season and more than what they had in their three previous outings.
   Unicoi County grabbed their only lead of the game in the top of the first inning as Matt White reached on a fielder's choice and Daron Adkins singled. Big Tim Peterson then ripped into a Zach Stipe offering for another single to plate both Blue Devil runners ahead of him.
   The first inning proved to be the only bright spot for the Devils as Stipe rang up five Unicoi batters on strikeouts in five innings of work. Cody Eggers was called upon in middle relief by responding with a superb one and one-third inning effort to keep UC in check until "The Bus" Wes Greer arrived to seal the deal for the Cyclones.
   Meanwhile, EHS showed the most tenacious attack they have all season in the fourth inning as Bowers got the ball rolling by lashing his second double in as many at bats. Michael Porter then singled to push Bowers to second.
   Adam Greenlee got into the act by singling in pinch-runner Alex Graves with Nat Treadway following Greenlee's single with one of his own to plate Jonathan Crowley, who was pinch running for Porter. After a nicely executed sacrifice bunt by Mitchell Blevins, catcher Nathan Bishop added two RBI's to his season total by lacing a single to score Greenlee and Treadway.
   The Cyclones continued their tear with B.J. Miller lining a double down the first base line to pick up Bishop and DH Ricky Garrison stroked another solid single to score Miller. Bowers, who started the inning with a double, then singled to bring a close to an eight-hit, six run inning to give the Cyclones a 6-2 edge they was not going to relinquish.
   "We haven't been hitting the ball real well, but tonight I saw the pitches and hit them really well," stated Cyclone third baseman Bowers after the game. "My teammates stepped it up and were able to get on base and I think this will really provide motivation going into tomorrow's game with Johnson County as well as the tournament this weekend."
   Unicoi County used a total of five pitchers, with Ryan Corn absorbing the loss for the Blue Devils. Coach Chris Bogart was forced to go with his ace John Broyles to keep the Cyclones in reach, a move he was hoping to stay away from.
   "I wanted to try something different so I could keep John fresh for the tournament this weekend," stated Coach Bogart. "I was wanting to get us to play with a little confidence and in a little rhythm in hopes that we can make some things happen in the tournament this weekend."
   Added Bogart: "Elizabethton hit the ball well which is a sign of a good team. I might have made a mistake by playing it a little different, but I wanted to give some different guys a look.
   Overall, senior night turned out to be a memorable one for five Cyclone seniors who have made a large contribution to the Cyclone program.
   The seniors are: Adam Greenlee, Wes Greer, Michael Porter, B.J. Miller, and Joseph Vines. These five seniors will have one more opportunity to see their home field again as the Watauga Conference will play their tournament at Joe O'Brien Field beginning Saturday.