BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
It has been a week that the Elizabethton Cyclones have been waiting on as something was going to have to give at the top of the Three Rivers Conference baseball race as every game from here on out is going to be huge to who gets the top seed when the district tournament rolls around.
Tuesday at Joe O’Brien Field, the Cyclones got the first big blow in as they took Sullivan South out to the back of the woodshed and laid a major whooping on the Rebels, 16-1.
The Cyclones broke out of the gate quickly after starting pitcher Evan Carter struck out two of the three batters he faced in the top of the first inning to give his team an opportunity with the sticks.
And boy did his team bring the aluminum to the park on this day.
Karson Dillard opened the bottom half of the frame when he stroked a triple to right field. With one out, Dillard came across to score when a ball hit by Carter was mishandled allowing Carter to reach safely to make it 1-0 Cyclones.
Carter stole second and tagged and went to third on a fly ball out to center field by Evan Perkins. Back-to-back doubles off the bats off Matthew Dailey and Lawson Wagner quickly made the score 3-0 when Carter and Dailey came around to score.
Jaden Anderson laced a single to move Wagner to third base. A passed ball sent Anderson across the dish increasing the lead to 4-0.
Anderson scored when Nico Ashley hit a ball to shortstop that was misplayed for another error allowing the Cyclones to take a 5-0 lead after one inning of play.
Carter continued to make all the right pitches collecting two more Rebels on strikeouts in the second inning as a mere single was all South could manage.
Elizabethton kept the heat on in the bottom of the second adding three more runs to their side of the scoreboard.
Bryson Rollins worked a walk after facing a full count and came around to score when Carter ripped a triple to center field.
Perkins wouldn’t miss on his next at bat as the senior torched a double to left field picking up Carter and increasing the lead to 7-0.
Perkins stole third with one out and scored when Wagner hit into a fielder’s choice to pick up Perkins as Elizabethton went into the top of the third leading 8-0.
The Cyclones put the game on ice in the bottom of the third after the Rebels scored a solo run in their half of the inning as ‘Betsy flipped the board 7 times all coming with two outs.
Rollins singled, Carter smacked his second triple of the game scoring Rollins and Perkins followed with a walk.
A balk on the South pitcher allowed Carter to score. Courtesy runner Austin Birchfield advanced to second on the balk and swiped third base.
Dailey followed by swatting his second double of the game scoring Birchfield to make it 11-1 Cyclones.
Wagner singled to score Dailey and was advanced to second after Anderson was pegged by a pitch. Ashton Wilson was greeted by being hit by a pitch as well to load the bags for EHS.
Ashley cleared the base paths when he sent a triple to center field and the Cyclones were in cruise mode leading 15-1.
Elizabethton added their final run when Perkins doubled to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning as the game was mercy-ruled after the Rebels had no answer to cut into the deficit.
The Cyclones (7-0, 14-4) traveled to South (5-2, 11-5) for the regular-season wrap up for both teams on Wednesday.