Cyclones clobber Patriots

By Rebecca Pierson
STAR Correspondent

   Sullivan East left Elizabethton Monday night with its heads hung low. The Cyclones (7-6) took out the Patriots 16-4, earning sophomore Elizabethton pitcher Cory Pearson his first victory of the season.
   "That is the first time [Cory] has thrown all year," Cyclone head coach Steve McKinney said. "I thought he did a good job. He kept them off-balance. He was throwing them strikes. He did a real good job today."
   "We gave them some runs, which is a plus," he said. "Anytime you get runs, you pitch a little bit better. Then Cody Eggers came in, and he did a good job. I thought he might have been a little tired because he started a game on Saturday.
   "Then I brought out Travis Bowers there at the end to close it. That is what I got him for was to come in and close the game down. We did a good job."
   The Cyclones would hold the Patriots down to one run at the top of the first. With two outs, Bowers hits a double, and then East's Jordan Carrier walked Charles Peters. Ricky Garrison then drove Bowers home.
   Then catcher Adam Grindstaff knocked a home run over the left-field fence to send the Cyclones up 4-1. Grindstaff would go three for four and earn 5 RBIs in the game.
   "Our sophomore catcher [Grindstaff] hit his first home run down here, and I thought he did a good job behind the plate," McKinney said. "That's Grindstaff. He is really my No. 2 catcher, but if he keeps hitting like that, he will move up to No. 1. He DHs a lot for me. He has a real good strong arm behind the plate. He defenses well behind the plate. He does a great job for us."
   "We are all playing as a team which is a big plus," he said. "The guys on the bench are staying in the game, and cheering the guys on in the field."
   Elizabethton would have two more runs in the second, but in the top of the third, the Cyclones let loose the storm that added seven more runs to bring the score to 13-1. East could never regain the loss.
   In the bottom of the fourth, Matt Eads bounced a line drive to centerfield, and would steal second off a foul by Blake Morgan. Morgan then drove the ball to center to push Eads home. From there David Hughes pushed in Morgan and brought the score to 13-3. Elizabethton would answer back with three runs at the top.
   After a long weekend at the Gibbs High School tournament, McKinney was very pleased with his boys' performance.
   "I am just tickled," he said. "I gave them Sunday off, and they came back here on Monday and played pretty good. I recommend everybody take a trip. The kids grow up away from their moms and dads. They grow up and become young men, and they learn how to do things. I think the trip this weekend helped us more than anything.
   "This was a big win for here against Sullivan East. East is a good ball team. Even though they didn't play well today, I know that Coach Carter does a great job. His kids play hard. Some days in baseball, you never know what is going to happen. I know he was down after the game, but he does a super job with his kids. Those kids are going to get better as the season goes on."
   Besides great pitching, good hitting also helped the Cyclones to victory.
   Ryan Kennedy would go three of four. Bowers and J.C. Adkinson would go two of three. Alex Graves was two of four.
   "We started hitting the ball," McKinney said. "We have been hitting a whole lot more in practice. We are just putting the ball in play. That is what I tell them -- put the ball in play and anything can happen.
   "They had two or three errors that hurt them early in the game, but I am tickled to death with the all-out effort by the team," he said. "I told Coach Carter at the end of the game, 'I have been there.' It's hard to explain it to people that [the team] looks like they are not giving you effort, but they are. Something snowballs them and anything they do is wrong.
   "It's tough. I know -- I've been there. There is nothing you can do. It doesn't matter who you put up on the hill. If they throw strikes, they hit it. They hit it, and you boot it around a little bit. I know Carter is a great baseball coach. He is going to get those kids up, and he is going to do a fine job with them."