Rangers earn WVC win over Cloudland

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Cloudland took an early lead but could not hold it as Unaka rallied for an 8-5 Watauga Valley Conference win over the Highlanders at Claude Holsclaw Field.

Cloudland plated two third-inning runs on an infield error and a bases-loaded hit batter, but the Rangers tallied four in the bottom half of the stanza.

Bryson Street and Davy Ensor had RBI hits with a wild pitch allowing another run to score and an infield error let home another. Joseph Slagle started on the hill for Unaka and he pitched fairly well over his 3.1 innings of work with just the two unearned runs were given up.

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The ‘Landers touched him in the fourth with Jordan Isaacs leading off with a double to centerfield. A throwing error on Slagle put Cloudland runners at the corners and a ground ball out by Sam Birchfield brought home one run.

After a walk to Collin Morgan, Unaka manager Tee Blevins elected to go with Daniel Shearl to come on in relief. Hunter Blair singled in a run to tie the game but Shearl retired Dillon Johnson and Jordan Coffey on pop flies to end the threat.

“We had a lead, and we aren’t in that situation often so we have to learn to finish,” said ‘Landers manager Cory Rhodes. “Hopefully we can turn it around. We’re competing.”

The Rangers (7-7, 2-3 WVC) scored a pair of runs in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead with Nick Nunley singling in a run and Reid Taylor delivered an RBI base knock as well. Unaka also added an insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Ensor to plate Street who doubled.

John Ramsey came on to close the game out in the seventh and he struck out the side with one walk thrown in the mix.

“It was good to get John Boy a little bullpen session, so he will be good to go tomorrow,” Blevins said. “I liked our approach at the plate, we showed plate discipline. We bunted guys over and they both ended up scoring. Little things matter in this game.”

Unaka 8-5

Cloudland 002 201 0 – 5 8 2

Unaka 004 121 x – 8 9 2

W – Shearl L – Christman