Elizabethton erupted for eight unearned runs in the second inning and went on to defeat the Indians 13-2 in six innings on Friday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
A two-run home run by Jordan Hinshaw and Zach Boles’ three-run dinger to right were the big blows. The Cyclones tacked on another run in the fifth and four more in the sixth.
“They hit the ball,” Indians coach Mike Ritz said. “It’s not like we really had much of an opportunity. They came out and blasted the ball right off the bat.”
Elizabethton got some help, though.
D-B (18-11) committed a pair of throwing errors with two outs that prolonged the second. The next seven Cyclones to bat reached safely, a hit parade that included the homers by Hinshaw and Boles. The latter round-tripper chased starting hurler Adam Mays (3-1), one of four seniors honored prior to first pitch.
“Those errors got it started. And, you know, we’re playing all our seniors. And maybe we were too much caught up in making sure everybody was part of the game instead of really being ready to play,” Ritz said. “But I don’t want to take a thing away from Elizabethton, because they came out and played a great ballgame.”
Cyclones coach Joe Nix agreed it was a tremendous effort by his team.
“That was the best we’ve looked, I’m going to say all year,” he said. “We’ve been struggling a lot and it’s kind of bled over into a lot of confidence and mental issues.”
Elizabethton (8-20) slugged out 14 total hits.
Meanwhile, Ritz’s team went into a prolonged funk at the plate after the second- inning salvo. Chris Cook’s one-out single in the fifth marked the Indians’ first base hit since Elijah Sutherland led off the bottom of the first with a single.
The Tribe didn’t show serious signs of life until the sixth, scoring two runs on three hits, a walk and a fielder’s choice grounder.
“We made a little bit of noise. But we have to do better than that,” Ritz said.
It will help when one of D-B’s better players regains his health. Senior second baseman Nick Loughry started, but solely for ceremonial reasons. Fighting a hamstring injury, Loughry was removed after the first official pitch of the game.
Ritz said he didn’t know if Loughry would be back by the District 1-AAA tournament.
McKenly Berry (3-2) just missed about a month because of injury but started and tallied the win for Elizabethton. Taylor Lanthorn recorded the final two outs after Berry got into trouble in the sixth.