Huskies eclipse Cloudland

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Despite a 12 strikeout performance from Mark Byrd, one inning was too much to overcome.
   With seven passed balls in the fifth inning, the North Greene Huskies scored five runs to strike the Cloudland Highlanders down with a 8-3 season ending loss for the 'Landers.
   "The playing field hurt us today," said Byrd, "A couple of errors cost us the game. North Greene hit the ball pretty good, and we just didn't show up to play today."
   The bats were working early for Cloudland in the ballgame; however, they couldn't capitalize on the scoreboard until the third inning.
   "I don't know what to say exactly," said senior T.J. Lunsford, "It was a rough game. We just wasn't doing things right today. We could've won that game, we could've won any game we'd wanted to, we just couldn't get it together."
   Behind a walk and a passed ball, Cloudland was in good position for Caleb Denton, who drove a powerful single scoring Clint Steiner and Jon Gibbs. T.J. Lunsford followed up with a single, and later scored on a wild pitch.
   Cloudland opened up with three straight innings of tough defense. Byrd sat down five in the first three, only allowing one hit. But the Huskies caught up with them eventually.
   At the top of the fourth, North Greene caught up with Cloudland quickly. A walk by Allen Guinn, and a hit by Justin Evans led to a Josh Gibson RBI single. Blair Platt hit a 2 RBI single tying the game at three a piece.
   "It's disappointing," said Caleb Denton, "I felt like we had a team that could have went on farther down the road. But we made some mistakes, and it cost us the game."
   North Greene busted out in the fifth, scoring one earned run from a Erick Hite RBI sacrifice. Five passed balls in the fifth inning scored four runs for North Greene, as they wound up with an 8-3 lead.
   "We just came up short in the game," said Cloudland coach Jeff Bradley, "We peaked a little bit earlier this year than we have been, we just sort of came down at tournament time."
   Cloudland mounted several opportunities at scoring another run, but just couldn't finish it off, as North Greene took the win that ended Cloudland's season.
   "We had a good season this year, it was the best one we've had since I've been coaching," said Bradley, "We had some good seniors this year. Good senior leadership and there's a lot of sophomores and juniors out there, good ballplayers."
   A career is ended for the Cloudland seniors, who added on to the outstanding year of Cloudland sports. Caleb Denton and T.J. Lunsford are shining examples of the tough Cloudland senior class.
   Said Denton, "I couldn't see myself playing at any other school. Cloudland is a great school and I believe they'll progress in baseball down through the years."
   "It's been great," said Lunsford, "I've loved playing with the boys I played with. We've got good athletes coming up next year, and I hope they do better."
   Aaron Gray has played Cloudland baseball for the past three years, though he never had the numbers, it's a tough good-bye for a great young man.
   Said Gray: "I'm sorry that my high school baseball career has ended upon such a low note. I've enjoyed the past three years, had a lot of fun, and got a lot of exercise out of it. I appreciate Coach Bradley for the job he's done."