Cyclones roll to region title

Published 11:55 am Thursday, May 17, 2018

by Larry N. Souders
The Elizabethton Cyclones kept their postseason magic alive Wednesday.
 Behind the sturdy bat of Evan Perkins and stout pitching, the Cyclones fended off Greeneville, 9-4, for the Region 1-AA title inside Thomas Stadium.
Perkins went 4-of-4 at the plate while racking up six RBIs.
Starting pitcher Evan Carter kept the Green Devils on their heels for the entire six innings he pitched.
Only allowing a runner to reach second in the fifth and surrendering two runs in the sixth after the Cyclones had built a 9-0 lead. Carter gave way to relief pitcher Corey Russell in the seventh.
Russell allowed two runs in the seventh before striking out Braden Spano to end the game.
“Well we just came out, and I tried to throw strikes,” said Carter after the game. “I let the defense work for me. When they put the ball in play, we just made good defensive plays. We put the ball in play ourselves, and we had some good base running all game, it was just a good game for us.”
Carter threw 82 total pitches, 52 of them for strikes.
The Cyclones came out on fire in the top of the first, sending eight men to the plate, scoring three runs before the Greeneville even came to bat. They chased the Green Devils starter Jacques Gillespie-Taylor, who gave up the three runs, all earned, on four hits, walked one in his single inning of pitching against Elizabethton.
Greeneville sent Keylan Newton to the mound to start the second. He threw a one-two-three second inning. However, the Cyclones lit him up in the third when Carter opened the inning with a single to deep second and beat the throw. Russell flew out to center, and then Evan Perkins drove a liner to center that got under the glove of the center fielder and ended up on third. Russell scored on the play. Newton came back and struck out Logan Estep and Matthew Dailey to end the inning. After three, Elizabethton held a 4-0 edge.
If they lit him up in the third, the Cyclones blew him away in the fourth. After Jacob Mullins struck out to start the inning, Elizabethton’s bats came alive. Nick Johnson and Ryan Wetzel each singled, wrapped around a walk by Ethan Eggleston loading the bases. Carter slapped a liner that was caught for the second out of the inning, but the Cyclones weren’t done yet. Newton’s walk of Russell allowed Johnson to score
With that walk, Greeneville went to the bullpen again, bringing in Augustus Farley to the mound. Perkins greeted him with a bases-clearing double to left. He then moved to third on a wild pitch, but Farley got Estep looking for the final out, and the lead had grown to 8-0 heading into the fifth.
“Offensively, we’ve been working for almost twelve months now,” said Presnell. “We saw something going on last season and in the postseason that we wanted to fix. We recognized our abilities, we knew who we were losing, and we knew who we were gaining from our JV, and we started the day after we put these kids together, tailoring everything we do towards tonight’s game and Friday night’s game.”
The Cyclones add their final run in the sixth, upping the lead to nine.
Greeneville tried to come back scoring two runs in each of the final two innings, but it wasn’t enough.
“Greeneville hung a few runs on us in the final two innings,” said Presnell about the Green Devils. “They’re a good hitting ball club. I respect what coach Collins is doing down in Greeneville. It’s a very respected program.”
The Cyclones will host Gibbs Friday evening in a state sectional matchup.
Gibbs will be coming into Friday’s game after losing to Pigeon Forge in the Region 2-AA championship Wednesday. The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the TSSAA Spring Fling Championship.

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