ELIZABETHTON — Elimination games don't offer second chances, so Elizabethton didn't take any.
Chris Lanthorn went 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, and the Cyclones pounded out 14 hits in a five-inning mercy-rule 12-2 whipping of South Greene in the Region 1-AA baseball semifinals Monday night at O'Brien Field.
Improving to 26-10, the Cyclones earned the right to play host for Wednesday's championship game against Greeneville. The Greene Devils eliminated Unicoi County 4-3 in eight innings.
Also, Elizabethton earned a berth in Friday's sectional round.
Lanthorn had bunt singles in each of his first two at-bats.
“I trust my legs to carry me,” said Lanthorn. “I just use the techniques I've been working with since my first day of baseball.”
His fifth-inning triple was crushed into the left-center field gap of the spacious ballpark.
“I got a nice piece of it,” said Lanthorn. “But I'm not trying to be a power hitter in the two hole.”
Nix said he liked what he saw from his players. He said they didn't display a high level of nervousness.
“They were energetic but relaxed,” said Nix.
Elizabethton jumped ahead 1-0 on Anthony Ward's first-inning RBI double. Then the Cyclones broke the game open with a seven-run third inning.
The big frame started with an infield hit by Quincy Jackson and a bunt single from Lanthorn. Thomas Miller singled sharply to left field to make it 2-0, and Ward followed with an RBI single. Then Austin Smith sent two runners home with a single.
Hunter Hodges followed with a line-drive sacrifice fly to center field to make it 6-0.
Before the inning was over, Lanthorn batted for a second time and drove in two runs with a single.
South Greene scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning, one of them on Jon Zavaleta's RBI double, but the Cyclones put the game to rest with a four-run fifth inning. Caleb Armstrong had an RBI single and Lanthorn added an RBI triple, and the game ended on a delayed balk call — which sent Lanthorn home with the winning run.
Ward, Smith and Jackson each had two hits for the Cyclones.