By Gene Renfro
The sixth lead changed lifted Elizabethton to a 10-9 victory over Sullivan East Monday, which gave the Cyclones momentum down the home stretch of the Three Rivers Conference.
That final lead change saw Chad Pritchard race in from third on a ground ball to second by Thomas Miller. Pritchard, a senior, was able to start the bottom of the seventh with a single to right and then moved up to third on an error trying to get the ball. Wes Montgomery flied out to shallow center, but not deep enough for Joe Nix to send Pritchard towards home.
“We had a squeeze on, but it all worked out,” Pritchard commented about the final play. “Luckily we got the better of them this time.”
The duo of Pritchard and Miller both went 3-for-5.
Pritchard had a triple and a stolen base while one of Miller’s hits was a double.
With the outcome the Cyclones were able to take the top spot in the conference standings with an 8-1 mark and a 13-5 record overall before today’s home contest against Happy Valley. Elizabethton also won the season series against the Patriots in Monday’s game that took 2:40 to complete. Sullivan East left Elizabethton with an 8-2 record against other Three Rivers foes with an overall record at 15-6.
Like other runs scored, that game-deciding score was an unearned run for Sullivan East’s pitching staff that saw five errors in the field. Kyle Harris ended up with the loss after giving up the one run on two hits in an inning plus of work.
Before that, Aaron Boling was hit for nine runs, five earned, on 10 Elizabethton hits in 51⁄3 innings of work. He struck out seven and threw three wild pitches, but the Cyclones were able to draw five walks.
Boling provided a spark with the bat as he was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. After he left the mound, Sullivan East head coach Mike Breuninger moved him to center, where he caught the shallow ball in the seventh that prolonged the game despite uncorking 117 pitches.
“Elizabethton is a good team and we’re a good team. Coming into this game you would have thought it would have been a 2-1 or 3-2 game and it turned out to be the opposite,” Breuninger commented.
The Cyclones was able to gain the early lead, thanks to a four-run first inning. Quincy Jackson scored the final run on a passed ball after he tripled.
The first of Jackson’s three hits pushed in Conner Campbell and Anthony Ward. Ward reached on a RBI double as Miller’s courtesy runner Chris Lanthorn scored the first run. Lanthorn would score three times in the game. Campbell then drew a walk as Ward moved up to third on a wild pitch during the at bat.
Sullivan East would go onto score a run in every inning for the rest of the game. However, the Patriots took a 6-4 lead after a four-run fourth. Included in the scoring frenzy was a two-run double by Boling with two outs on the scoreboard.
Elizabethton answered in the bottom of the fourth with a three-run outbreak. Montgomery was able to place a bunt on the right side of the infield for not only a hit, but an RBI scoring Austin Smith. Smith walked to start the inning before going to third on a throwing error after stealing second. Overall, the Cyclones scored three times on just two hits and two Sullivan East errors.
Montgomery started the game on the mound, where he completed 32⁄3 innings. The first six Patriot runs went to him on 10 hits. McKenly Berry then tossed three innings of no-hit relief. The Patriots might not have gotten a hit, but four walks and four wild pitches helped lead to three runs. Cory Richardson was able to get the victory and recorded one out, a strikeout.
Sullivan East got a 3-for-5 outing from Jordan Jackson with two RBIs and two runs. Ryan Flick also went 2-for-3.
Sullivan East 011 411 1 — 9 11 5
Elizabethton 400 302 1 — 10 12 3
Boling, Harris (6) and Jackson. Montgomery, Berry (4), Richardson and Miller. W—Richardson. L—Harris.