By Staff Reports
KINGSPORT — Adjustments at the plate helped Elizabethton break a pitching duel wide open.
After struggling in the first three innings against Sullivan North starter Peyton Marshall, who struck out seven Cyclones in the first three innings, ’Betsy became more aggressive at the plate and was rewarded with runs in a 9-0 Three Rivers Conference shutout.
While Elizabethton was able to work around the Raider starter, the home team was unable to solve Cyclone senior McKenly Berry.
Berry, with a strong defensive performance behind him, pitched the complete game shutout with nine strikeouts, allowing just five hits.
“We definitely had great pitching and great defense behind (McKenly),” said Elizabethton coach Joe Nix, whose team improves to 11-5 with a 7-1 conference mark. “Sullivan North’s Marshall did a good job early keeping us off balance. We came around and had timely hits and kept going at them. We did a good job battling and had a inning at the end.”
Mired in a scoreless deadlock, the Cyclones, using a more aggressive approach, worked the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
Connor Campbell reached on a fielder’s choice, Jordan Hinshaw walked and Quincy Jackson was struck by a pitch. Cody Guess followed suit with a two-run single for the 2-0 lead.
“We changed it up at the plate and put them in a two-strike mode,” said Nix. “We made better contact and were able to manufacture some runs.”
One inning later, Chad Pritchard reached with a walk and stole second to set up an RBI single from Wes Montgomery. Montgomery, who advanced to second on the throw, stole third and crossed the plate on an RBI fielder’s choice from Tony Ward to make it a 4-0 game.
Sullivan North crumbled in the seventh inning.
Thomas Miller walked and Campbell followed with a single to put two aboard. Miller’s courtesy runner Chris Lanthorn and Campbell each delivered a stolen base to put runners at second and third for Hinshaw, who reached on an error that plated the two Cyclone runners.
Jackson followed with a walk for Guess, who drove his third run across the plate with a double. Eric Carter capped the frame with an RBI single and Guess scored on a passed ball to produce the final tally.
Guess, with a 2-for-4 night, was the only Cyclone with multiple hits. Miller reached three times on walks, while Hinshaw took base three times on a pair of walks and the fifth inning error.
— — —
Elizabethton 000 220 5 — 9 5 0
Sullivan North 000 000 0 — 0 5 2
WP—Berry. LP—Marshall. 2B—Elizabethton (Guess).