Prep Baseball: Cyclones fall to Unicoi; Blue Devils clinch first, EHS takes No. 3 seed

Published 12:07 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Unicoi Blue Devils slowly dripped in the runs Wednesday night at Joe O’Brien Field.

Going at a one-run-per-inning pace, the Blue Devils topped Elizabethton, 5-1, as Erwin clinched the regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed heading into next weeks Three Rivers Conference tournament.

With the loss, Elizabethton will head into the league playoffs as the No. 3 seed.

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For the Cyclones, Wednesday’s follows a sweep of Sullivan South last week and a big 9-2 win over Unicoi Monday in Erwin, and Elizabethton head coach Ryan Presnell said that no matter what happened Wednesday the Cyclones would be heading into the TRC tournament with plenty of confidence.

“We have developed things over the season to prepare for the tournament,” said Presnell. “Just because we are the three seed and not the one or the two doesn’t change a whole lot. We just have to¬†win one more game to do what we want to do. We are going to go into it with a positive outlook and execute the best that we can.”

A lot of ‘Betsy’s trouble came from the arm of Unicoi pitcher Clay Simpson as he threw a complete contest while retiring 12 Cyclones against two walks. Simpson was awarded the win as he finished with two hits and one run against him.

The Cyclones worked through two pitchers with Evan Carter getting the start. Carter tossed through the first five as he struck out 11 batters. Carter had seven hits and four runs hung on him. Elizabethton’s Lawson Wagner finished out the evening¬†throwing two innings.

“It’s going to be a tight game with two quality pitchers up there,” said Presnell about Carter and Simpson. “The numbers those guys were putting up there were impressive. It was two of the better pitchers in the conference going at it.

“We blinked and they didn’t,” added Presnell. “We had some defensive miscues there, you know. You had some balls that should have been third outs, but ended up extending the inning to give them one more run.”

In the top of the first, the Blue Devils Peyton Wilson made it home on an error to make a 1-0 affair. The Cyclones, however, answered in the bottom as Elizabethton’s Ryan Wetzel, who made it on board with a triple, reached home on a sacrifice fly from Carter, knotting things at 1-1.

Carter struck out three straight in the top of the second before the Blue Devils held EHS off the board in the bottom of the frame.

The Blues Devils took a 2-1 lead in the third as Unicoi’s Caleb Wilson smacked one down the first base line for an RBI triple.

A Blue Devil came home in the fourth as Elizabethton catcher Evan Perkins attempted to throw out Unicoi’s Brett Strother as he stole second. Unicoi held a 3-1 edge heading into the fourth.

Simpson got in on the scoring action in the fourth as he hit a single to left field to bring home Wilson for another Unicoi run.

The final run of the game came in the fifth as Caleb Wilson struck again with an RBI double to right field.

The Three Rivers Conference tournament will start next Thursday and will be held at the Johnson City Cardinals ballpark.