Cyclones ride three-run first inning to win over Happy Valley, 4-1

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

When an opportunity presents itself in the game of baseball, the team that can reach out and snatch those offerings is most often the team that can walk off the diamond with a victory.

The Elizabethton Cyclones managed to take advantage of two walks from Happy Valley’s Dustun Sams in the bottom of the

first inning to manufacture three runs and turned that edge into a 4-1 win in Three Rivers Conference play Wednesday evening at Joe O’Brien Field.

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Elizabethton got the top three batters on base to kick off their portion of the first inning as Ethan Eggleston drew a walk, Corey Russell singled toward to short, and Michael Robinson walked to load the bags with Cyclones.

A sacrifice fly off the bat of catcher Evan Perkins scored Eggleston. Matthew Dailey then drove both Russell and Robinson to the plate on a two-RBI single giving ‘Betsy the 3-0 lead.

The Warriors managed to slice the lead by one in the top of the second.

Sams collected a single and advanced to third on a single by Sage Haun putting Warriors on the corners.

When Brodie Adams uncorked a wild pitch, Sams came to the plate to make the score 3-1.

From that point, the game turned into a pitching showdown as Adams and Sams battled tough with only one more run being scored in the bottom of the fifth inning by Elizabethton.

In the frame, Eggleston reached on a fielder’s choice and raced to third when Russell slapped a double.

Robinson’s then lofted a fly ball to left field that allowed Eggleston to tag and race home for the insurance run for the Cyclones making it a 4-1 advantage.

Adams picked up the win on the mound by twirling the one run, three-hit complete game for Elizabethton. Adams fanned nine Warriors and walked none in notching the victory.

Cyclone head coach Ryan Presnell was happy with the effort he received from his big right-handed pitcher.

“He was very big tonight going out and throwing strikes and attacking hitters,” said Presnell. “The three-spot in the bottom of the first makes it easy to pitch with the lead the whole time.

“We were calling a lot of fast balls. You don’t have to really work a lot of hitters backwards, and he was able to keep us a solid lead the whole game.”

Sams was hung with the loss going six innings in the contest and striking out three and walking three.

Happy Valley skipper Brad Hill said the two walks in the first inning that led to the early lead was very uncharacteristic of Sams.

“Dustun struggled to find the zone in the first inning and that’s not like him,” said Hill. “This entire season he has two walks in 13 innings and today he had two walks in the first inning.

“They got a couple of knocks and drove in a couple of runs to put us behind the eight ball. I thought after that Dustun settled in the rest of the game and gave us a great opportunity to win. We just weren’t able to get it done at the plate.”

Russell led the Cyclones at the plate going 2-for-3 on the afternoon. Evan Carter (triple), Dailey, and Ryan Wetzel collected Elizabethton’s other three hits.

Sams, Landon Morefield, and Sage Haun accounted for Happy Valley’s three hits against Adams.