BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
JOHNSON CITY— Even though there was some rain that fell during Sunday evening’s District 1-AA baseball tournament being played at TVA Credit Union Ballpark, the only wind that was felt was that coming from the pitching mound area where Evan Carter was standing tall.
Behind an 11 strikeout, 94 pitch, three-hit shutout performance by Carter, the Elizabethton Cyclones put away the Unicoi County Blue Devils by a 6-0 score.
Carter walked no one and had 65 out of 94 pitches for strikes.
While Carter was spinning his magic on the mound, his Cyclone teammates were doing the rest making some dandy defensive plays in the field while taking care of business at the plate offensively to make sure Carter had all the support he needed.
Jaden Anderson and Nico Ashley swung the big sticks offensively along with Carter as the trio collected six of the eight Cyclone hits in the contest.
Ashley and Anderson ripped a double each in the win.
Bryson Rollins and Jacob Mullins accounted for the two remaining hits in the game. Rollins was robbed at least twice on two other bombs to the outfield that looked destined for extra bases.
Caleb Crain, Brett Strother, and Caleb Metcalf accounted for the three Unicoi hits in the contest off of Carter.
A scary moment did occur early in the first inning when Cyclone second baseman Evan Perkins reached on a Blue Devil throwing error and when he attempted to steal second, the moisture on the bag caused Perkins to pop over the bag and land oddly.
Perkins had to leave the game after a 10-minute delay with an undisclosed injury as his teammates took a moment to pray for their teammate.
“I’m not sure what happened, but I will tell you that’s a great kid,” said Cyclone head coach Ryan Presnell about Perkins injury. “It’s hard to see one of your kids hurting.
“It was a rallying cry for these guys and they knew that without him it’s a little tougher but we also know we want to do it for him and have been doing it for Corey Russell all year as well.”
With the win, the Cyclones will square off against South on Tuesday with the winner guaranteed a spot in the upcoming regional tournament.
When looking back over the game, Carter felt like his ability to utilize his full arsenal plus his team’s mindset is what helped them gain the win.
“I think just coming out and throwing strikes was the best thing for me tonight,” said Carter. “I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes tonight so it worked out good for me.
“It’s go time right now. We are ready to go. The mindset right now is to come out and score more than the other team and don’t let them score at all.”