The Cyclones clubbed Unicoi County ace Clay Simpson for eight runs in four innings en route to an 11-0 six-inning mercy-rule win in the winners’ bracket final at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Monday.
“They did a good job of executing the game plan and doing what we’ve done all year,” said Cyclones coach Ryan Presnell. “And that is be patient hitters, and when you get the opportunity, you’ve got to strike and strike big. And that’s what they did.”
In three district games, Elizabethton (22-8) has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 37-2. The Cyclones moved into tonight’s championship round at 8 p.m.
Unicoi (19-13) will have to battle out of the losers’ bracket to reach the region. The Blue Devils will play Sullivan East at 5 p.m. today in the losers’ bracket final. East eliminated South 12-7 in the losers’ bracket semifinal Monday night.
The Cyclones’ Tre Shoun allowed only five hits in the complete-game performance. He walked one and struck out three.
Shoun was backed by a defense that racked up four double plays, including the game-ender with the bases loaded when Matthew Dailey tagged a runner and then threw to first base.
SULLIVAN EAST 12, SULLIVAN SOUTH 7
Things looked a little shaky in the early going, but the Patriots came through when it counted.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” said East coach Mike Breuninger. “We talked about situations like this during the season. We feel we’re never out of a game, no matter what. We got down three runs tonight and the kids proved it. They battled back and had success.”
South jumped ahead 7-4 in the fourth inning by scoring three runs on a bases-loaded infield bleeder that was thrown away. The Patriots (17-12) stormed back to take a 9-7 lead, and then tacked on some insurance.
“I think it was a matter of fighting through it,” Breuninger said. “They had three runs in that inning, and it could have been a lot worse. (Freshman Seth) Chafin came in and did a real good job on the mound. And we got the job done at the plate.”
Chafin earned the win in relief. He allowed just one hit and one unearned run in three innings.
Elias Arnold led East with three hits and two RBIs. Dylan White drove in a pair of runs.
Drew Creech drove in five runs for South. The Rebels got a pair of RBIs from Andrew Noah.