Sullivan East rallies to beat Unaka, 2-1

By Tim Chambers

   Some western watchers still wonder how the west was won. Unaka baseball fans are tying to figure out the same thing about the East.
   Matt Eades swatted a two out single in the bottom of the seventh to score Matt Chase, who had reached on an error to give East a 2-1 win over Unaka at Rutherford Field.
   The hit came after Daniel McInturff appeared to strike out the previous hitter, but the pitch was ruled a ball, much to the displeasure of the Ranger crowd.
   The game became a pitchers' duel between McInturff and Hunter Crowder. Unaka hit the ball hard the entire afternoon but baseball again proved to be a game of inches.
   The Patriot defense prevented a run in the first thanks to a nice defensive play from first baseman Justin Mullins, who snared a hard shot off the bat of Rusty Chambers with Chad Lewis aboard.
   Unaka took a 1-0 lead on back to back singles by Andrew Church and Ryan Bowers that scored Tee Blevins who had reached on a fielder's choice. McInturff continued to breeze giving up four singles through four innings.
   East threatened in the fifth but two diving stops by Lewis at short and Chambers at second took away sure hits, preventing East from mustering any type of scoring opportunity.
   Unaka hit the ball hard several times, but time and time again East appeared to be in the right place at the right time. Chambers drove a pitch to deep right center only the see the ball hauled in at the wall and Huskins followed with a deep drive to right that was cradled by the rightfielder.
   East tied the game in the sixth as Eades collected a single and advanced to third on another one bagger from Jordan Carrier. A sacrifice fly from David Hayes knotted the game at 1-1.
   Unaka got a single from Ryan Bowers in the seventh but left him stranded at second. With two outs and runners at first and second, Unaka elected to bring in Blevins, who got Eades to hit a grounder than just got between short and third to plate the winning run.
   McInturff pitched a gem giving up only six hits on the day, striking out two while walking only two.
   Unaka was credited with four hits as Bowers collected two while Church and Lewis had one each.
   "This was by far the best effort hustle wise we've had all season," said Unaka head coach Mike "Acie" Ensor. "We hit the ball hard all day but didn't have anything to show for it.
   "East played an outstanding defensive game. Both pitchers threw well and the defense was good. Hopefully, our hitting will come around."