Mission accomplished for Elizabethton's baseball team.
The Cyclones disposed of Cloudland 12-2 on Thursday night in non-conference action at Joe O'Brien Field.
"Senior night, had all eight seniors starting and all eight seniors played the whole game," Elizabethton coach Joe Nix said. "That was a credit to the guys going out there, making sure they took care of business and allowed that to happen. The guys have earned it throughout the year, and we've got guys that can play."
The Highlanders (3-21) pulled within 3-2 in the third inning.
"We fought hard," Cloudland coach Kevin Kendall said. "We have a lot of confidence when No. 3 is on the mound for us. We had runners on. Normally we can get those in.
"When our lower half of the order can get on base, usually our top of the order can get them in. We had a hard time with that today, but Elizabethton is a good baseball team."
The Highlanders stranded two runners in the first. Kasey King singled and crossed on an error, giving the Cyclones (14-13) a 1-0 advantage.
Jake Hubbard's two-run single in the second pushed the cushion to 3-0. The third saw Casey Pritchard rope a run-scoring single, while a wild pitch plated a run to pull the Highlanders within one.
"My team is getting better, even though our record doesn't show it," Kendall said. "There's little things we can do better. Hopefully we will do them better."
Cody Guess tagged a run-scoring single and Corey Richardson bunted in a run to make it 5-2 in the third. The Highlanders stranded a pair of runners in the fourth, when Elizabethton reliever Brian Mullins struck out four batters.
"We're so close between our ones and twos, that it's not much of a drop-off - if at all," Nix said. "Some guys just do some things a little better, and other guys do other things a little bit better. It's just kind of who has been hot, and who has given us the best chance through the year.
"Those guys came out tonight and proved they can play, too, and can play on any given day - which is huge. If somebody gets hurt or somebody starts slumping, or if we need somebody off the bench."
The Cyclones punched in five runs in the fourth. A runner was walked in, Hubbard stole home, Guess belted a two-run double and crossed on a wild pitch in pushing the lead to 10-2.
C.J. Bowling's two-run single in the fifth ended the affair.
"Playing a good team like Elizabethton helps us get better," Kendall said. "Now it would be nice to come in here and get a win. I thought for a time, in the third inning, we're going to come back and get them - but they just hit them where we weren't.
"We walked little bit, but I'm proud of my guys. They played as hard as they could against a top-notch opponent."
The Highlanders' Michael Hyden was touched for six hits and allowed 10 earned runs. He struck out six, walked 10 and hurled four wild pitches.
Hubbard pitched three innings. He yielded two hits, the two earned runs, fanned three and walked two with a wild pitch.
Mullins was on the hill two shutout innings, allowing one hit. He fanned three and walked one.
King stole two bases. Guess batted 2 for 3.
"Cloudland is definitely scrappy, competed and kept it competitive," Nix said. "They started getting a few hits here and there, but it was a good night for the seniors. A good night to celebrate senior night, and now we can look to tomorrow."
-- -- --
Cloudland 002 00 -- 2 3 3
Elizabethton 122 52 -- 12 6 1
M. Hyden and Bullwinkle. Hubbard, Mullins (4) and Dennis. W--Hubbard. L--Hyden.