By Gene Renfro
ELIZABETHTON — Elizabethton saw an 8-5 and 14-2 split in Wednesday’s doubleheader contested against John Battle played at Joe O’Brien Field.
The Cyclones, now 12-6 on the season, were able to emerge from game one with the 8-5 victory before the visitors got the last straw behind a 14-2 outcome.
“We didn’t play particularly well in the first game and we didn’t show up to play in the second game,” Elizabethton head coach Joe Nix said about the team’s performance.
John Battle struck first in the opener when Josh Hughes and Raymond Luchini performed a double-steal. Hughes trotted home on the throw down to second was late to try to get Luchini.
Elizabethton ran out of the first inning. Chad Pritchard was caught stealing after a lead-off single. Back-to-back Cyclones were hit by pitches, but Wes Montgomery was picked off in a run down that involved five throws.
However, Pritchard had a game-best 3-for-4 at the plate in the opener. He also drove in a pair of teammates.
The Cyclones was able to post three runs in their half of the second inning. Pitcher Austin Smith helped himself with a RBI single to center. Conner Campbell was at second when he reached on a lead-off walk and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Pritchard then looped a two-run single into shallow center to break the tie.
Smith ended up with the game-one win from the mound. He tossed 61⁄3 innings and scattered nine hits that led to five runs, three earned. He struck out four and walked just one. With the bat, Smith was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. His other RBI was on a fifth-inning double.
A two-run outburst occurred in Elizabethton’s half of the third thanks to a couple of Trojan errors. Montgomery came home on a wild throw on a grounder by Quincy Jackson. Montgomery scored twice as he was 1-for-3 at the plate. Later on courtesy runner Jordan Hinshaw scored on a wild pitch.
Montgomery struck with the bat thanks to a double to right in the fourth. Chris Lanthorn came in from third on the hit after a lead-off single and moving up on a groundout. Later on Thomas Miller tried to put down a sacrifice bunt, but Josh Blakburn dropped the throw at first. As the ball trickled away Montgomery came on in.
Josh Hughes was able score John Battle’s second run in the fourth. He reached on a fielder’s choice and then on a hit and run single to right by Blakburn, Anthony Ward’s throw sailed into the visitors’ dugout. Blakburn was 2-for-3 as eight of the Trojans’ starters all recorded a hit.
Two more runs were posted for the visitors in the fifth before one last comeback attempt in the final frame. In the seventh, the Cyclones brought Jesse Clark in to get the final two outs for the save.
Ty King drove in a pair of runs for John Battle.
Matt Sullivan completed five innings for the Trojans in the opener. The eight runs, four earned, occurred on eight hits. He tossed five wild pitches out of the 104 tosses to the plate. Sullivan struck out four, walked three and hit two Cyclones.
As the temperature dropped Wednesday the Trojans’ bats heated up. Battle poured on 11 runs in the final two innings of game two to even up the Wednesday series.
Dylan Richardson suffered the setback on the mound while his counterpart Seth Cunningham was the winning pitcher.
King banged out four hits for the Trojans.
Elizabethton will be back in action today when Avery County visits for a 7 p.m. contest.
John Battle 010 120 1 — 5 9 4
Elizabethton 032 210 x — 8 11 2
Sullivan, Cumbo (6) and Hughes. Smith, Clark (7) and Miller. W—Smith. L—Sullivan. Sv—Clark.
John Battle 210 006 5 — 14 12 0
Elizabethton 100 001 0 — 2 4 4
Cunningham and NA. D.Richardson, C.Richardson, Clark, Jackson and Guess. W—Cunningham. L—D.Richardson.