Cyclones hard ballers take down Patriots on wild pitch in eight innings

Published 11:34 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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For seven innings it was a pitcher’s duel, but one wild toss brought the game to a dramatic end.

The Elizabethton Cyclones opened their 2016 baseball season at Joe O’Brien Field on Tuesday evening as they played host to Sullivan East and sent the visitors back to Bluff City with a 2-1 loss that took eight innings to settle.

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Elizabethton broke the ice in the bottom of the first inning when Drew Wetzel singled and scored to give the Cyclones a 1-0 advantage.

From that point, East pitcher Aaron Frye and Cyclone southpaw Garrett Hartley engaged in an early-season pitching showdown as both hurlers kept the bats pretty well silent through five complete innings of baseball.

That score would remain the same over the course of the next five innings until the Patriots managed to manufacture a run in the top of the seventh inning against freshman reliever Corey Russell who took the hill in the top of the sixth inning in place of Hartley.

Dylan Heaton opened the top of the seventh with a single off of Russell. Russell managed a strikeout of designated hitter John Jones before the wells came off for the hard-throwing right hander.

Three consecutive walks allowed Heaton to even the score at 1-1 and send the game to extra innings after the Cyclones couldn’t produce a run in the bottom of the seventh.

Frye looked like he was primed to put the Patriots ahead in the top of the eighth inning when he reached first base and was sacrificed to second on a bunt.

A sac-fly put Frye at third base and the go-ahead play just feet away from home plate.

However, a dandy defensive play brought the inning to an end without any damage for East.

The Cyclones needed a boost to take the opening game of the season and the ever-important win over the always tough Patriots in Three Rivers Conference play and got what the doctor ordered in their half of the eighth.

Tre Shoun, who came in relief of Russell after the tying walk, not only performed his magic on the mound but at the dish as well.

Shoun worked East relief pitcher Mason McGrew for a walk to put the winning run on first base. Head coach Ryan Presnell went to his bench and sent Ryan Wetzel into the game to pinch-run for Shoun.

Jesse Carr laid down the perfect sacrifice bunt, but instead of stopping at second Wetzel was on his wheels and raced all the way to third safely ahead of the throw from first.

McGrew uncorked a wild pitch on his next offering allowing Wetzel to cross the plate safely and give the Cyclones the hard-earned win.


Elizabethton, 2-1

Sullivan East 000 000 1 0 – 1  3  0

Elizabethton  100 000 0 1 – 2  4  0

Aaron Frye (7), Mason McGrew (8) and Chase Chaffin. Garrett Hartley (5), Corey Russell (6), Tre Shoun (7) and John Lee. WP: Shoun (1-0). LP: McGrew (0-1).