Raiders stymie 'Clones

By Kim Richardson
STAR Staff

   KINGSPORT--The visiting Cyclones from Elizabethton High School jumped on Sullivan North starting pitcher Trey Mosley in the top of the fourth inning and actually had him "rattled a little." 
   "Yeah they had me on the ropes -- I was a little shook up," said Mosley. "I was struggling for awhile, but luckily we got things straightened out."
   Mosley surrendered four hits to the Cyclones, two of those in the top of the first inning. He then held Elizabethton to two more hits for the game in an 8-2 win for North.
   Mosley threw a strikeout to start the game. Nat Treadway followed with a single, and after a fly out to second, designated hitter Adam Grindstaff produced another single, only to have North catcher John Yates throw a missile to first baseman Derek Williams to pick off Grindstaff, and the first Cyclone threat was thwarted. 
   A grounder to the pitcher, a strikeout and a grounder to short and Elizabethton starting pitcher Mitchell Blevins gets them one, two three in the first.
   The second inning came to naught for both teams and it's on to the third.
   Alex Graves reached on an infield error, then came a strikeout and a hard bunt for a fielder's choice before another strikeout to end the top of the third.
   The Raiders managed to get two runners on the corners before Blevins K-ed third baseman Shawn Wright, and it's scoreless after three.
   "We didn't play so well early on," said Wright, who had a game to forget and to remember. "The first few innings were a little rough to say the least."
   Ricky Garrison put the Cyclones in a favorable situation with his outstanding base running to begin the fourth inning. Garrison reached on a two base error by Hinkle, and advanced on to third when he noticed no one covering the base.
   "We did some good things tonight," stated Cyclone head coach Steve McKinney. "We had some good and bad baserunning; Ricky with the heads-up play in the fourth, and well, a not-so-smart play at first earlier.
   "We have to get beyond this and start to play the way I know we're capable of playing."
   Coach McKinney continued: "I get pretty vocal at times. I sometimes expect more of them than they think they have to give, but they've proven time and again that we can be a very good baseball team. We just have to play much smarter baseball."
   The fourth appeared to be headed nowhere fast when the next two batters were put out without advancing Garrison; but then the key at bat for the Cyclones appeared in person of Troup Harris. 
   Harris worked from a zero-and-two count to be hit by a pitch after working to a full count. Two outs, runners on first and third.
   Charles Peters stepped up and roped a single, scoring Garrison and Harris. Peters advanced to second on the throw home intended to get Harris, but that would be it for the Cyclones in the fourth. That would be it for the Cyclone offense for the game.
   The bottom of the fourth was lethal to the visitors from Carter County. Wright led off with a bunt single, and was sacrificed by Yates' bunt. One on, one out.
   Second baseman Chris Eaton singled home Wright. Next, first baseman Derek Williams crashed a double, sending Williams home just before shortstop P.J. Blakely was safe at first via a throwing error. Chris Frazier singled, scoring Quillen, before Wright came to the plate for the second time in the nightmarish fourth. Home run, Wright. Three RBIs and the score's 8-2 Raiders.
   Sullivan North scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to close the deal.
   Raiders Coach Steve Dixon said: "Well, we took advantage of some miscues on their part, as they had done in the top of the fourth. Trey pitched a great game overall, and I think that Blevins pitched awfully well for them also. This game is about pitching, hitting and errors. I'm sure expecting us to play a little cleaner baseball if we're to advance."
   Notes: Jim Dixon, Coach Dixon's brother, was very helpful in assisting with the score sheet, especially during the chaotic fourth inning. Much thanks, sir.