BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
One day removed from a 7-0 shutout over the Johnson County Longhorns, Elizabethton didn’t hold back the sticks and rode the arm of Matthew Dailey to a 10-4 win over the visiting ‘Horns Tuesday evening at Joe O’Brien Field.
The victory gave the Cyclones (6-0, 12-4) the regular season sweep and kept their record unblemished in Three Rivers Conference play and evened ‘Betsy with the best record of area teams with Tennessee High who also stands at 12-4 on the season.
After the Longhorns grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Cyclones quickly responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame.
Karson Dillard led off with a triple to center field to get the ball rolling. A Bryson Rollins groundout brought Dillard to the dish to even the score at 1-1.
Evan Carter followed with a walk and a ball hit by Evan Perkins couldn’t be handled at shortstop to put two Cyclones on the base path.
Dailey helped his own cause with a single that brought Carter and Perkins home.
Elizabethton tacked on a solo run in the bottom of the third inning when Lawson Wagner and Jaden Anderson connected on back-to-back doubles to extend the Cyclone lead to 4-1.
“He threw me a fastball,” said Anderson of his big hit. “That was what I was looking for. He did throw a couple of curve balls, but when I saw that fastball, I knew I could hit it.”
The Longhorns managed to shave a run off the lead in the top of the fourth when Petie Povusek doubled and scored on an error on a ball hit by Reese Stout after Povusek had stolen third cutting the lead to 4-2 in favor of ‘Betsy.
Elizabethton’s big inning came in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Cyclones struck for six runs to stretch the advantage to 10-2.
Dailey led off the inning with a walk and was followed by another base on balls to Wagner. Anderson put down a perfect bunt for a single to load the bags full of Cyclones.
A walk to Cooper Tipton brought home courtesy runner Jacob Mullins. A single off the bat of Ashton Wilson drove home Wagner and Anderson to make it a 7-2 ball game.
Tipton took third on a passed ball and came home on a sacrifice fly by Rollins. Carter tore into a pitch for a standup triple chasing home Wilson to make it 9-2 Cyclones.
Carter scampered home on a passed ball to give Elizabethton the 8-run cushion heading into the top of the sixth inning.
The Longhorns didn’t quit as Johnson County plated a couple of runs in the top of the sixth inning to narrow the gap to 10-4.
Wagner came in relief of Dailey in the top of the seventh inning as the sidewinder managed to keep the ‘Horns off the board to close out the contest.
Dailey picked up the win running his record to 4-0 going six innings while issuing four runs and striking out five Longhorns.
“I wasn’t feeling the best, but I just threw strikes and let them hit it,” said Dailey of his effort. “I knew the defense behind me would back me up.
“We still have a long way to go. The second half of the season we will kick it in.”
Coach Ryan Presnell was happy with the victory but not completely satisfied with the effort of his club.
“It wasn’t very clean, but like Matthew (Dailey) said it wasn’t our best, but we got the job done,” said Presnell. “We had some bad swings, bad pitches, and bad defense but got the win to get the conference win.
“What we want to do now is win out and win the conference outright and get the number-one seed. Next week we have South, and we are going to have to play better than what we did tonight because we will face a tougher resistance against them than what we did tonight.”
The Cyclones will get a couple of days to practice before playing a game in the Dobyns-Bennett tournament Friday evening.