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Cyclones earn key Watauga baseball win over UC

Gene Renfro • Updated Apr 23, 2018 at 8:39 PM

ERWIN - A windy day in Unicoi County turned out to be the Cyclones’ baseball team from Elizabethton, who took the 9-2 Three Rivers Conference contest against the Blue Devils on Monday.

Unicoi County entered the series controlling the league’s top spot and its own destiny. And the Blue Devils still control it thanks to Happy Valley’s upset of Sullivan East.

The Blue Devils go into Tuesday’s scheduled league finale at Elizabethton’s Joe O’Brien Field with a 9-2 conference record and a 16-9 mark overall. The Cyclones improved to 8-3 in the league and 17-5 overall. Happy Valley’s 3-2 win over Sullivan East sent the Patriots to 8-3 in the conference.

A Blue Devil win Tuesday secures the top seed for the District 1-AA tournament while a loss could force a three-way tie atop the standings.

Cyclones’ offense produces

The Cyclones pounded out 15 hits including a pair of home runs. Evan Perkins capped off his 3-for-4 day with a home run to left-center field. Logan Estep’s only hit was a home run that also left over left field. Ethan Eggleston and Corey Russell each had three hits as well. Russell drove in three runs and scored twice while Eggleston accounted for two runs and a RBI.

“You just take a good approach at the plate and you know you have a really good pitcher who is going to be around the plate quite a bit,” said Elizabethton head coach Ryan Presnell. “You know you are going to have to hit strikes and have to be as aggressive as he is and we tried to match his aggressiveness. I think our guys did a good job of executing.”

Unicoi head coach Chad Gillis said his pitcher, Caleb Wilson, was leaving the ball up in the strike zone.

“We had a few errors, but seven earned runs and we still get beat,” said Gillis. “They hit it where we weren’t, gap to gap. You can’t have a great day every day. He just didn’t have his best. The good thing is we have them again tomorrow, hopefully.”

Blue Devils Bats

Owen Nicholson led off the first innin and was hit by a pitch. He would end up scoring on a Troy Podvin groundout that tied the score at 1-1. Podvin ended up touching home in the fourth for the other Blue Devil run on a fielder’s choice hit into by Brett Strother. Podvin was hit by a pitch to start that rally as well.

Nicholson had two of Unicoi County’s four hits on the day.

Shoun Shines

Tre Shoun tossed the complete game for the Cyclones. He struck out two and walked two more Blue Devils.

“Very happy with Tre Shoun,” said Presnell. “That’s been a lot of hard work that he has done. He made a decision a couple of years ago and can throw three or four pitches for strikes. That’s because he puts the work in on the side and committed to his role on this baseball club.”

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