Cyclones rebuff Bulldogs

By Tim Chambers

STAR STAFF
tchambers@starhq.com

   Elizabethton got the key hits while Hampton didn't.
   As simple as it sounds the Bulldogs missed several opportunities with runners on base while the Cyclones took advantage of key situations with some timely hitting, resulting in an EHS 8-2 Watauga Conference win at Bulldog field.
   Cyclone southpaw Zack Stipe pitched five scoreless innings to get the win.
   "I wasn't shape at all today," said Stipe. "I got away with some bad pitches and my teammates bailed me out with some good defensive plays."
   'Betsy jumped on top 1-0 in the first when Nathan Bishop singled and advanced to third on a double by Nat Treadway. A sacrifice fly by Travis Bowers scored Bishop but the 'Clones were unable to do further damage in the inning.
   The Cyclones tallied two in the second with two outs when Kelly Adkins ripped a double followed by a walk to Alex Graves. A close play saw Bishop called safe at first to load the bases. Two walks to Treadway and Bowers allowed Adkins and Graves to cross the plate for a 3-0 lead.
   The Cyclones took a 4-0 lead in the fifth as Ricky Garrison lined a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Adam Grindstaff's double off the left-field wall scored Garrison from second.
   Meanwhile, Stipe continued to pitch out of jams with the help of some good defense. Hampton loaded the bases in the fifth with one out but Stipe was able to get a pop-up and strikeout to end the threat.
   Hampton's lefty, Josh Cole, pitched tremendous for five innings before giving way to Eric Cole in the sixth. Three walks and a hits batsman resulted in three Cyclone runs in the sixth frame.
   Charles Peters lined a hard single to left that accounted for an RBI while Garrison followed with a single to right scoring Bowers who reached by way of being beaned and Peters for a 7-0 lead.
   Hampton scored two in the sixth when Brandon Barnett and Zack Crabtree led off with back-to-back singles. A double off the bat of Zack Trivette accounted for two RBIs, slicing the lead at 7-2.
   'Betsy added a solo run in the seventh thanks to a single by Bishop, who later scored on an error.
   Stipe tossed five scoreless innings before giving way to Mitchell Blevins in the sixth. Bowers came on in the seventh to close out the deal.
   Bishop had a stellar afternoon, banging out three hits while scoring three times. Treadway had a 2-for-2 performance, including two sacrifice bunts along with a walk.
   Garrison added two hits and two RBIs in the win. Bowers reached base three times, two by the old bean ball that resulted in two RBIs. Peters, Grindstaff, and Adkins added one hit each to the cause.
   Ben Harrison led the Bulldog offense with two hits, including a double while reaching base safely three times. Miller, Brandon Barnett, Zack Crabtree, Gene Sanchez, Cody Montgomery and Zack Trivette contributed one hit each to the cause.
   "I was very proud of my young pitcher (Josh Cole) today," stated Hampton skipper Scotty Bunton. "Our inability to get the key hit with men on base prevented us from having a chance to win.
   "Sanchez did a good job at short and that was one position I was concerned about. We just got to do a better job at scoring runs."
   "We played with four seniors on the field and the rest was underclassmen," said Cyclone head coach Steve McKinney. "Anytime we come to Hampton, they play us tough.
   "Coach Bunton does a great job and his kids play hard. Overall I'm not satisfied with the way we played. Not taking anything away from Hampton, I think playing so many games the last few days might have been a factor."