King shines in Rangers 3-0 victory over North

Published 2:31 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

by Larry N. Souders

With the season on the line Unaka head coach Tee Blevins went with senior starter Blake King Monday night against the Golden Raiders of Sullivan North.

King delivered a gem, throwing a complete-game shutout surrendering only two hits, striking out 11, including the final out of the game and walking only three on 114 pitches.

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King’s performance helped Unaka shut out Sullivan North, 3-0, to keep the Rangers hopes of a district title alive.

The energy level for the Rangers was on a different level Monday night after their marathon game Saturday.

You could feel their excitement as they took the field behind King. King was on his game from the first pitch, with the Golden Raiders only managing to get J.J .Fleenor on in the first because of a fielding error.

Unaka put the only two runs they would need for the game on the board in their half of the first.

Davy Ensor grounded out to start the inning, but John Wesley-Hardin stepped in next and delivered a liner to right centerfield. North’s starting pitcher, Hunter Dingus, next walked his counterpart King on five pitches. Dingus then struck out Bryson Street for the second out of the inning. The Rangers, however, were not going to be denied tonight. John Ramsey stepped to the plate and smacked a blistering line drive back up the middle to load the bases. Gallimore next stepped in, looking to atone for his error in the top half of the inning, and ripped a two-RBI single to right center.

Prior to the sixth, the Golden Raiders only other base runners reached by either walking or being hit by a pitch. King was in full control, allowing only one runner to reach as far as second base for the entire game.

“First elimination game tonight, Blake is a senior and a four-year starter,” said Blevins. “I put it on the seniors’ shoulders tonight. If they wanted to keep playing, they had to step up. Blake had a no-hitter through five, and gave up only two hits over the final two innings.”

In the bottom of the sixth, leading 2-0, the Rangers were looking for an insurance run and Gallimore delivered a single on a blooper to shallow right field to start the inning. He cleanly stole second and went to third on a pass ball by North’s catcher Peyton Robinson. This is when coach Blevins went to his bag of tricks. With Hunter Rice at the plate, Blevins called for the suicide squeeze. Rice botched the bunt attempt. However, the ball got by catcher Robinson. Even on a favorable carom off the backstop, Gallimore scored easily, without a tag even being tried by Robinson.

“Dakota Gallimore either scored or drove in all three runs for us tonight,” said Blevins. “Tonight he played shortstop which was the last spot he hadn’t played for me in a game. He filled in that role and they both (King) did great tonight.”

The Rangers return to David Crockett field Tuesday afternoon with a 5 p.m. starting time.