Warriors blank Unaka behind four-run first inning

Published 11:55 pm Thursday, April 7, 2022

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
A case of first inning wildness was costly to the Unaka Rangers on Thursday evening as junior righthander Landon Ramsey issued four free passes and saw each of those runners score as Happy Valley tallied four runs en route to a 10-0 non-conference baseball victory at Claude Holsclaw Field.
“Any time you see a guy like that step on the mound you know you’re in for a dogfight,” Warriors head coach Todd Caldwell said. “He’s a real good arm so we had to be patient and make him throw strikes and it paid off for us.”
Drew Blevins took the mound for HV (5-7 overall) and he was solid through three frames before giving way to Pedro Colunga in the fourth. Blevins struck out six and walked four while surrendering just one hit.
In the top of the fifth HV struck for a run when Andrew Little walked, stole second, came around on a wild pitch that eluded Rangers catcher Logan Lewis for a 5-0 Warriors lead.
Lewis came on in relief of Ramsey in the sixth and was rocked quickly. Ramsey gave up five runs – all earned – on just one hit. Ramsey struck out nine and walked eight.
Lewis struggled in his inning of work as Dakota Grindstaff led off with a single and Levi Taylor followed suit to put HV runners on first and second.
Unaka left fielder Jacob Nidiffer dropped a fly ball off the bat of Ensor to load the bases and Cameron Johnson drove home a run with a base hit and make it a 6-0 Warrior lead.
Tucker Shoun hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate another run and Little teed off on a Lewis delivery into the gap in right-centerfield for a three-run, inside-the-park home run.
Colunga gave up an infield single to Brayden Powell to open the Unaka sixth but he was picked off first base by Colunga. Nidiffer then doubled to left-center and Jaylen Hardin was hit by a pitch but Colunga struck out Gavin Seigfried and Cameron Prince to end the contest.
Caldwell was pleased with his team’s defensive effort as well saying, “We have been preaching all year about making the routine plays and if we can put the ball in play then good things will happen for us. Usually when you go from a guy who throws hard to a guy that doesn’t it can throw you off but my guys were patient and kept their hands back.”
Happy Valley 10-0
Happy Valley… 400 001 5 – 10 6 0
Unaka………… 000 000 0  –  0 4 1
W – Blevins.  L – Ramsey.
HR – Little.  2B – Nidiffer.

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