Falcons soar to win over Elizabethton

By Ivan Sanders

   The Elizabethton Cyclones were wanting to prove to everyone that last year's run was no fluke, but the Volunteer Falcons had other things in mind.
   The Falcon bats came through at the critical times and Tim Ofiero held the Cyclones in check for most of the contest to allow Volunteer to advance to Monday's winner bracket contest with a 7-4 victory over host Elizabethton at Joe O'Brien Field Saturday afternoon.
   Volunteer will match up against Sullivan North.
   "Most of the year our top four or five hitters have carried us, but tonight the bottom half really stepped it up with a good effort from the plate," said Falcon head coach Mo Cloud. "We made some mistakes on defense with the only difference being the fact we didn't put our heads down tonight, we just kept playing."
   The Cyclones were feeling pretty good after their first at bats as they scored two runs in the inning. B.J. Miller and Ricky Garrison reached on singles with Miller scoring on a throwing error by the pitcher in an effort to nab Garrison at first on Garrison's bunt.
   Garrison advanced all the way around to third on the error and came home on an RBI ground out by third baseman Travis Bowers for a 2-0 Cyclone advantage.
   Volunteer wasted little time in evening the score as Geoff Hinkle singled and Wes Bowery scorched a ground-rule double down the first base line-putting runners at second and third. A bases loaded walk to Matt Gilreath scored Hinkle and a Dee Charles sacrifice bunt scored Bowery to even the score at 2-2.
   The Falcons added a single run in the top of the third after Daniel Byington singled and went to third on a single by Jacob Frazier. Each runner advanced on a Joseph Vines wild pitch, with Byington scoring the go-ahead run.
   EHS came back even in the bottom of the fourth with Nat Treadway reaching Ofiero for a single and advancing to second with a stolen base. An error by Volunteer on a Mitchell Blevins slow roller allowed Treadway to score and bring the game all even at 3-3.
   Neither team would score again until the sixth when the Falcons used three hits and a Cyclone error to score two runs and retake a 5-3 lead. Trying to stay in the game, EHS came back in the bottom of the frame to score one with Michael Porter drawing a walk from Ofiero.
   Alex Graves came in to pinch run for Porter and advanced as Nat Treadway punched out another single to push Graves to third base. Graves wound up scoring on a Volunteer error to cut the margin to 5-4.
   Volunteer then put the game on ice as they added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning on two hits and two errors by the Cyclones to go up 7-4. Ofiero took matters in his own hands in the Cyclone seventh, giving up two hits on singles to Miller and Bowers before cutting the lights out on the Cyclones season.
   "I'm hoping this will allow us to relax a little more in our next game, but not become satisfied," stated Cloud. "We just hope to come out here Monday still hungry to win the tournament and hopefully catch a few breaks against whoever we play."