Cyclones come up short on road at Unicoi Co., 3-1

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The young Elizabethton Cyclone baseball team has been playing solid baseball for most of the early season, however, they are finding overcoming their arch nemesis in the Three Rivers Conference is coming down to a very fine line that they have yet to find a way to erase.

For the second time this season, the Unicoi County Blue Devils found a way to manufacture enough runs and get solid pitching in defeating the visiting Cyclones at Charlie Baxter Field 3-1 on a breezy Tuesday evening.

“I told the guys before the game if you want to compete with good baseball teams, there is going to be a razor-thin edge for a win or a loss,” said Cyclone head coach Ryan Presnell. “It comes down to little, bitty base hits here and one base hit there and one less error here and it’s a different ballgame.

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“Our guys have got to learn, and I will say this, they are going to learn. They are going to figure out that razor-thin edge,” continued Presnell. “We have given them every tool we can as a coaching staff. They have done great in the offseason, but we are still in the midst of getting them to a point where coming into the game they need to believe in themselves.”

The Cyclone took the early advantage in the top of the second inning when catcher Evan Perkins blasted a shot that kissed the base of the right-center fence for a stand-up double.

Brodie Adams followed with a bunt single which was intended to sacrifice Perkins to third but found himself standing safely at first base as the tag was missed.

Perkins raced home on Logan Estep’s four-six-three double play out to give Elizabethton the 1-0 lead.

Unicoi Co. captured the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish in the bottom of the frame.

Troy Podvin and Caleb Wilson reached on back-to-back singles. Starting pitcher Clay Simpson helped himself with a squeeze bunt that scored Podvin.

Wilson then took off on a wild pitch by Garrett Hartley and was called safe on a bang-bang play at the plate as it appeared Hartley made the tag before Wilson crossed on a headfirst slide.

The Blue Devils received an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth when Simpson reached on a throwing error by Cyclone shortstop Michael Robinson.

An RBI-single by Cameron Spires brought home the run for the 3-1 Blue Devil lead that stood up from that point forward.

Simpson was solid in the contest as he rang up five Cyclones on strikeouts over six and two-thirds innings of work.

Shaddon Peavyhouse came in and threw three 88 miles an hour pitches to record the final out on a strikeout and the save.

Hartley went five innings for the Cyclones and fanned nine Blue Devil batters. Matthew Dailey relieved Hartley in the bottom of the sixth and struck out the side.

Jesse Carr, Robinson, and Ethan Eggleston collected the other three hits for Elizabethton.

Presnell feels that his team will rebound from the loss and be ready to compete when the time comes for the conference championship.

“We teach our guys to be themselves,” added Presnell. “I firmly believe these guys are the type of guys that do want to step up and be the team at the end of the year battling for the conference championship.”

The Cyclones take on the Happy Valley Warriors today in another Three Rivers Conference contest.