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Cyclones shake off early deficit, quell Warriors

Johnny Wilson • May 4, 2018 at 11:20 PM

The Elizabethton baseball team gave a little but took a lot Friday in opening-round play of the District 1-AA tournament at Cardinal Park.

Spotting rival Happy Valley two runs, the third-seeded Cyclones wasted little time in getting straightened out in their 12-2 rout of the sixth-seeded Warriors.

Happy Valley (11-13) scored a pair of runs in the top of the first only to see Elizabethton strike right back with four of its own in the home half of the inning.

The Cyclones (20-8) had no thoughts of letting up and assumed a commanding 10-2 advantage through three innings.

"We came out a little sluggish but we came right back and started hitting the ball right out of the gate," Elizabethton shortstop Corey Russell said. "We were making good contact and forcing them to make plays."

And the Warriors struggled making plays, committing seven errors.

"We took advantage of opportunities,'' allowed Elizabethton assistant Joe Diaz.

RUSSELL STARS

Several Cyclones contributed to the runaway, but no one had a bigger night than Russell, a junior who banged out a double and a triple and knocked in three runs.

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard,'' Russell said. "Just make good, hard contact and see what happens."

Evan Perkins backed Russell with two hits and an RBI, while Matthew Dailey collected an RBI single and Nico Ashley plated a run with a sacrifice fly.

Russell's two-run triple in the second made it a 6-2 game against losing pitcher Hayden Holtsclaw and his leaky defense.

NICE JOB

Cyclone right-hander Trey Shoun was terrific in picking up the win, going five innings and allowing just two base hits while striking out five.

Shoun lost his shutout early, surrendering an RBI double to Nolan Easlic, who had two hits for the Warriors, who play today in the double-elimination tourney.

"He throws strikes and that's what he does," Diaz said. "He gets a lot of ground balls for us.

"We can't ask any more out of him than he already gives. He's a great kid and a great pitcher. He's a senior who's done it for us all year — he's our guy."

BIG GAME

Elizabethton moves on to face second-seeded Sullivan East, which received a first-round bye, today at noon. Happy Valley, meanwhile, plays the loser of last night's Sullivan Central-Sullivan South game.

Sullivan Central 6

Sullivan South 4

Seemingly headed nowhere against Sullivan South, the Cougars put together a pair of late rallies to overcome a four-run deficit and claim a victory over the Rebels.

Parker Mumpower pushed Central (8-11) over the hump with a bases-loaded triple in the top of the seventh inning, erasing a 4-3 South lead.

Sullivan South (11-14) was up 4-0 after Chase Bowery rocked a solo home run to right center in the third inning.

The Cougars got back in the game with a three-run fifth as seven straight batters reached base.

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