By Rick Sheek
JOHNSON CITY — Monday’s doubleheader road trip was not kind to Cloudland’s baseball team.
The Highlanders were swept by Providence Academy. The Knights prevailed 11-0 and 12-0 in a pair of slaughter-rule affairs.
“We did some things OK,” Cloudland coach Kevin Kendall said. “We did some things not as good.”
A major problem for the winless Highlanders (0-7) was on the mound. They used five hurlers on the afternoon, to just two for the Knights (5-2).
“We’re light on the pitching staff,” Kendall said. “Half of our guys are not use to throwing.”
Hunter Nelson hurled two innings in the opener. He scattered five hits, yielded six earned runs, struck out two and walked two with two wild pitches and two hit batters.
Brent Hyden finished up. In one inning he allowed three hits, two earned runs, fanned one, walked three and unloaded a wild pitch.
In the finale, Dylan Markland, in two innings, was roughed up for four hits, five earned runs, struck out two and walked six with a balk. Zach Shell was touched for a hit, walked three and hurled a wild pitch in 2⁄3 innings, while Danny Arnett walked one before escaping.
“We’re a work in progress,” Kendall said. “I like these kids. They have a good attitude.
“They work hard. Right now we’re just behind the eight-ball a little bit.”
Cloudland had the bases juiced with one out in first inning the first game, but had a runner gunned down at home. The Highlanders opened the fourth with singles from Caleb Harrison and Reedy Jennings, before being turned away.
Shell batted 2 for 2 in the opener.
Providence’s John Steadman yielded four hits and fanned three with two walks. The Knights’ Blake Tyree and Maclain Grable each went 2 for 2 in that first outing with two RBIs.
Grable’s two-single started the rout in the first. A pair of other runners crossed on wild pitches to make it 4-0.
Cloudland third baseman Dylan Markland turned an unassisted double play in the second.
The Knights punched in seven runs in the third. Blake Tyree led off with a triple and stole home.
A runner crossed on a wild pitch, Evan Harmon plated a score, Evan and Blake Tyree each delivered two-run doubles, before a passed ball allowed a run to complete the onslaught.
“We’ve just got to get better,” Kendall said. “The biggest thing for them is to keep working hard, not get their heads down and do the best they can. Good things will come our way.”
Only one Highlander reached base in the finale. Shell singled in the fourth with one out.
Blake Tyree struck out seven in that affair. He also batted 2 for 3.
He opened the second game with a run-scoring single in the first. The second saw Merritt McKinney rip a run-scoring single, an error allow a score, and Blake Tyree’s two-run single made it 5-0.
The disastrous third followed. Three walks loaded the bases to open Providence’s at-bat.
A pair of runs were walked in. Jake Weaver plated a score.
A runner crossed on a passed ball. Landon Phemintin unleashed a two-run single to wrap up the blowout.
The Knights stole 12 bases on the afternoon.
“It’s not how you start,” Kendall said. “It’s how you finish.”
Cloudland 000 0 — 0 4 1
Providence 407 x — 11 6 0
Nelson and Harrison. Steadman and E. Tyree. W—Steadman. L—Nelson.
Cloudland 000 0 — 0 1 3
Providence 147 x — 12 5 0
Markland, Shell (3), Arnett (4) and Hyden. B. Tyree and E. Tyree.