Sullivan South starter Russell Koesters delivers a pitch against Elizabethton during Monday's season- opening Three Rivers Conference game in Kingsport. (Ned Jilton II photo)
KINGSPORT — Russell Koesters pitched a two-hitter and struck out 11 to help Sullivan South open its baseball season with an impressive 5-2 Three Rivers Conference win over visiting Elizabethton on Monday.
Koesters didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning against a Cyclones squad that made it to the state tournament last season.
“It’s always good to get that opening-day W,” Koesters said. “I knew I had to be at my best against them. My fastball was good and my slider was my sit-down pitch.”
Meanwhile, Elizabethton starter Dylan Richardson, who posted a 9-2 record last spring, hit four batters and allowed seven hits. He also was hurt by three errors from his infielders.
South (1-0) scored a run in the second inning before taking control of the contest by pushing across three more in the fourth.
Cooper Jackson and Jordan Mullins led off the big inning by reaching base on consecutive hit by pitches, and Dalton Light followed by stroking a single that drove in Jackson. Charlie McCann then came through with a two-RBI single that brought Mullins and Light home.
From there it was all Koesters.
Although Elizabethton tagged him for two runs in the fifth, both were unearned. He settled down, limited the damage and struck out two Cyclones batters in the seventh to end the contest.
Light led the Rebels with two hits and scored a run. Isaac Bourne had a double and an RBI, Jackson added a hit and scored twice, and Chase Fields had a hit and scored once for South.
The Rebels host Johnson County on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a game that was moved from Mountain City to Kingsport because of wet conditions.
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