Cyclones gain state berth with emotional win over Gibbs, 3-2

Published 11:05 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

JOHNSON CITY—To say there has been something special about the 2018 Elizabethton Cyclone baseball team would be an understatement as the Cyclones have played inspired baseball leading up to Friday’s sectional contest against Corryton-Gibbs.

The great thing is that their season still has more of a story to tell as Logan Estep’s walk-off base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Corey Russell from third base to secure a trip to the Spring Fling next week for the Cyclones with a 3-2 win.

“It’s what we have worked for during the offseason,” said Estep. “Working in the weight room and the cages—we just want to thank Coach Presnell for preparing us for the season and this game.”

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With one of the biggest crowds on hand to witness a baseball game in recent memory, the game had more of a state championship charge to it as both teams laid everything they had on the line for the opportunity to go to Murfreesboro next week.

The Cyclones grabbed the early lead in the first as Ryan Wetzel blistered a one-out triple to center field and came home on a mishandled ball at short off the bat of Evan Carter to make it 1-0 Cyclones.

Gibbs bats came to life in the top of the fourth inning as the Eagles surged ahead 2-1.

However, in the bottom of the inning, the Cyclones evened things up at 2-2 as third baseman Matthew Dailey’s base hit scored Corey Russell who had singled earlier in the inning.

The game stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth as Elizabethton had their big sticks coming to the plate.

After Carter lined out to start the inning, Russell worked his way on base with a walk. Russell then would turn on the afterburners to steal second base.

He advanced to third on an Evan Perkins groundout setting the stage for Estep’s heroics.

Estep quickly found himself in a hole at 1-2 before tagging a pitch to right field that set off a melee as Russell crossed the plate and the bench charged Estep at first base with the team piling around first base to celebrate the win.

“This is definitely the best feeling to be able to go to state with these guys,” said Russell who was grinning from ear to ear. “Trying to play one more game with them and not let them go.

“Logan has been hot this season especially through the district and the regions and I had no doubt he would pull through right there.”

In a prepared statement given to the media after the contest, head coach Ryan Presnell has this to say in part.

“Tonight was surely a great night. I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of these young men, our coaching staff, our families, and the Elizabethton baseball community. A lot of dreams were realized for the kids on our team and our coaching staff.

“They certainly answered the call.”