Cyclones had multiple storylines in sectional

Published 9:37 am Monday, May 21, 2018

As a sports writer on a tight deadline, sometimes there are not enough words let alone time to put into a story the outcome of an event that is being covered.

National orator Paul Harvey always had a catchphrase ‘And now the rest of the story’ that he was renowned for and couldn’t be overlooked in the writing of this story either.

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The reason—because there was a lot more to the story of a group of young men who have come together as not only a team of baseball players, but as a tight-knit family who play not only for themselves but each other.

Here are a few of the overlooked storylines that need to be revisited from the Cyclones big win over Corryton Gibbs that didn’t make the initial storyline.

Tre Shoun—starting pitcher

Senior Tre Shoun came into the contest without the fanfare of his counterpart of Cameron Hill who had twice the number of strikeouts as innings pitched and touted for a good fastball.

However, Shoun had won three games in the postseason for his team and even though he didn’t have the overpowering pitch, what Shoun did consistently for his four and one-third innings of work Friday night at Thomas Stadium was entice the Eagle batters into giving his defense the opportunity to make plays and get outs.

Many young pitchers think its all about ringing up the strikeouts, but Shoun did what was asked of him and although the two Eagle runs were recorded in the ledger under his watch, he kept his team in contention.

Shoun allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out two Gibbs batters. He will be counted on heavily at the state tournament to give the same performance.

Lawson Wagner—relief pitcher

It’s tough at the sectional level to be called upon to come on in relief, but Lawson Wagner took it as another day at the office coming in and working out of a couple of jams that could have blown the door open for Gibbs.

A submarine-style pitcher, Wagner again like Shoun is not overpowering, but the one thing that he did was keep the ball around the plate forcing the Eagle batters to be on their toes.

In his three and two-thirds innings of work, Wagner allowed only two hits and no runs as he picked up the win in relief with one strikeout.

Again, Lawson will be key in this week’s Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.

The Cyclone offense

The news of facing a pitcher the quality of Hill could have freaked any player out knowing a trip to the state level was on the line.

However, that didn’t seem to faze the Cyclone battery as they quickly shocked the hard-throwing Hill with a run in the first inning and then came back to even the score in the bottom of the fourth inning against Hill to give themselves a fighting chance.

Then when it counted the most, the offense was able to break through to get the win.

The Cyclone defense

Probably one of the most overlooked keys in baseball is the defense being played. The defense played by the Cyclones was something mesmerizing to watch as time after time, and play after play, Elizabethton’s defense was as solid as a rock.

The infield was tough to get anything past from the hot corner play of Matthew Dailey to the play of Nick Johnson at first base who made some stops of shots down the line as well as some pop-fly snares behind the bag.

And when your middle infielders include Corey Russell and Ethan Eggleston, any pitcher has confidence in knowing if anything is hit even close, these two will suck the ball like a Venus flytrap.

The outfield was very effective as well making plays on balls and making sure to keep the ball in front of them and throwing to the right bag that prevented the Eagle runners from taking one they shouldn’t as Evan Carter, Jacob Mullins, and Ryan Wetzel worked a solid game.

Catcher Evan Perkins

As a receiver, you have to be on your toes at any moment and not only did Perkins do a great job of working with both Shoun and Wagner, but he made one of the biggest plays of the game.

When an Eagle batter laid down a bunt, Perkins sprung out to throw out the batter and then had to hustle back to the plate as an Eagle runner attempted to come home with no one covering the plate.

Perkins made an outstanding tag on the runner for the double play that seemed to put a little more juice behind his team.

Coach Ryan Presnell

While most coaches relish the opportunity to talk about their team and the outcome of the game, as Presnell was approached for comments by the media, he simply took out a sheet of paper and handed to each reported and said that his comments were included in that letter and that he would rather his players receive the focus.

However, the content of that letter was more than a statement about the game—it was a statement to why this team of Cyclones didn’t just play with a magical flare but played with a deeper purpose.

In closing out this article, the following is the full letter presented by Presnell. Best wishes to the Elizabethton Cyclones as they chase their dreams and a state title at the 2018 Spring Fling.

“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.

A lot of people in our community are now looking to see what we say and what we do. I thought it important to be prepared for this moment. Therefore, I’d like to make the following statement and leave comments about the game to my beloved and worthy players. Certainly, they know what it took to win much better than me.

We find happiness in these moments that celebrate our hard work, dedication, and worldly talents, but these moments are short and fleeting. With the temporary nature of tonight’s celebration in mind, I’d like to talk to you about what really matters in my mind for this program and this night.

Real happiness and success are not found in a trophy or other worldly recognition of a job well done. Wood rots and metal rusts and fades. True happiness is found in the type of bond and love men find in each other when they ask Christ to accompany their every move in a locker room, a weight room, on a bus ride, and on a field of competition.

There is eternal joy to find solace in the fact that a game of baseball is just that, a game, and when it ends that we can all gather and thank our Lord for what He has done for us, win or lose.

What happened here tonight was not a battle or fight between enemies, but yet an expression of the love we have for each other, the game, our opponents, and most importantly, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

What these young men did here tonight sought to glorify Him, to show that if you truly have eternal faith, you don’t experience strife over a baseball game and its outcome.

You realize that if you love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love each other as you would love yourself, everything will be just fine. You go forward with the realization that you have each other and most importantly, you eternally have him and His grace.

You truly can be fearless in all you do. Our baseball team was fearless tonight because I believe they truly understand the meaning of this game and this life.

Win or lose, this was my goal for these coaches and players since I first met them. I wanted them to know Christ and to play for Him as such. A lot of folks think sports and faith are two separate things. I say no. They are one.

Everything is one under Him. All we hope to do here is to glorify Him so that others may see Him in us through this game. Many times, I deeply regret that I miss the mark. I argue with an umpire when I shouldn’t or I become agitated at a mistake and behave in a manner unbefitting a disciple of Christ.

I doubt myself more often than I’d like to admit, and I worry about petty comments about me and the team. But I know that my brokenness is not what matters and that my Lord uses broken man to do courageous and wonderful things all the time.

I hope through the cleansing blood of Christ, my Lord, sees a man emboldened by the salvation Jesus Christ won for me; a fearlessness to spread His name and a radical approach to the profession of Coaching in His name.

I desperately pray for my players, coaches, and everyone around the program, that through all of this, they find Him as I have. That they believe in Him and pursue a relationship with Him.

It has been my honor to coach this wonderful group of young men but it is my calling and duty to be the example of light in the world for them through the game of baseball.

I know some may find this a bit awkward. I find it curious, as well, that after a game I don’t want to talk about baseball. But I know that God has blessed me beyond measure to coach such a special group of young men and on a night when this same blessing has given us a platform, I should proclaim His name, not my own.

To God be the glory!”