Rangers unload on Blue Devils, 12-0

By Tim Chambers

   ERWIN--Unicoi is noted for being one of the best baseball towns across the state of Tennessee. The banners from previous years are enough to intimidate opposing teams when entering the Devils' home field.
   Unaka, though, didn't stand in awe.
   Behind a three-hit shutout from junior southpaw Randy Swearingen and a 13-hit performance by the Ranger offense, Unaka romped past the Blue Devils 12-0 Friday night in a non-conference game.
   Unaka jumped on top 1-0 in the first inning when Chad Lewis launched a home run over left center-field wall.
   "We are starting to come around as a team," stated Lewis. "We hit the ball hard today and our defense was good. Randy was outstanding on the mound."
   Rusty Chambers followed with a line-drive single to center and stole second on the first pitch. Ryan Corn was able to get the next batter to ground out ending the inning.
   Unicoi loaded the bases in the first after Corn single while Tim Peterson and Chase Whitson drew walks.
   Swearingen was able to strike out the next batter to end the Blue Devil scoring threat.
   Unaka exploded for five runs in the second off four hits and three base on balls. Brent Huskins started the inning with a single while Tee Blevins walked.
   A double from Travis Pasquale and a line-drive base knocker from Ryan Bowers gave Unaka a 3-0 advantage.
   After walks to Cody Collins and Chambers, along with Daniel McInturff reaching by way of an error, Swearingen helped his cause with a single for two RBIs and a 6-0 advantage.
   Unaka tallied a solo run in the fourth after Collins doubled and Lewis singled for a 7-0 lead. Unaka increased the margin at 9-0 when McInturff lined a double to deep left, scoring Huskins and Blevins, who had walked.
   Meanwhile, Swearingen was aided by two outstanding defensive plays one after Chambers fielded a slow hopper and scoop-tossed the ball with his glove hand to first to get the runner.
   Chambers followed up the good defensive play, tripling off the center-field fence to start the fifth, and scored after Swearingen reached on an error.
   "I've played against Unicoi for four years and have never beaten them until today," said Chambers. "When Randy comes to throw like he did today, he is a good as anyone."
   "We beat a very good team today, one that is well coached."
   Blevins scorched a rocket to score Swearingen and later scored on Collins' second hit of the day.
   Swearingen was able to made quick work of the Blue Devils in the sixth getting two groundouts and a strikeout to end the game. The lefty recorded 10 strikeouts on the day.
   Blevins was 2 for 2 while Chambers added a 2 for 3 day. Lewis and Collins chipped in at 2-for-4 each to lead the Ranger offense.
   "This was a huge win for our program," said Unaka head coach Mike "Acie" Ensor. "We got a great pitching performance from Randy (Swearingen) and our defense was super."
   "We hit the ball hard today and jumped on them early. I feel we are finally starting to see the ball very well."