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Patriots stay patient in win over Cougars

Johnny Wilson, Sports Correspondent • Apr 11, 2018 at 10:30 AM

BLUFF CITY - One sign of a good baseball team is not to panic if things start out a little sideways, a quality the Sullivan East Patriots flaunted Tuesday in a 6-4 Three Rivers Conference home victory over Sullivan Central.

Down 2-0 after allowing RBI singles to Noah Vaughan and Matt Long over the first two innings, East (9-4, 6-2) responded by scoring three times in the bottom of the second and twice in the third for a sudden, rather comfortable 5-2 advantage.

Ethan Terry had an RBI single for the Patriots, as did Elias Arnold and Everett Hunt. Terry also plated one of the runs with a sacrifice fly.

"So far, knock on wood, our guy's don't seem to get rattled when they get behind,'' said 14-year East head coach Mike Breuninger. "Those two runs early didn't seem to faze them one bit.''

A run-scoring double by Brantley Ellis, who had three of East's eight base hits, made it a 6-2 game in the fourth.

Vaughan pitched into the fifth inning and took the loss for Central (5-5, 2-4).


Sullivan Central committed four errors on the day, including a couple that helped fuel East's middle-innings rally.

"We jumped out on 'em a little bit but, as you can see up there (on the McKamey Field scoreboard): four runs, seven hits and four errors,'' youthful fourth-year Central coach Clay Colley said. "Four errors continues to be our problem.

"Our pitchers are throwing fine and we're putting runs on the board, but when you give them extra runs ... well, it's been our Achilles' heel all season.."


Winning pitcher Perry Casaday, who threw six solid innings, stood tall when the Cougars loaded the bases with two outs, down 6-3 in the fifth.

The right-hander ended the threat with a backwards K, painting the inside corner at the knees with a 3-2 fastball to Parker Mumpower.

"That was his last pitch and it was huge,'' Breuninger said. "It was in a good spot - you just hope the umpire calls that."

Colley had Mumpower's back.

"He (the plate umpire) was giving a pretty big strike zone and we've got our catcher up there who's seen that strike zone all day," Colley said. "I tend to side with him (Mumpower) that it was a little bit low, but with two strikes in a bases-loaded situation, you probably gotta pull the trigger right there."

Casaday struck out eight and walked six in his six innings of work.

The Cougars also got an RBI double from Jacob Fields.


Central threatened again in the seventh off closer Tanner Leffew, who was able to finish the job by fanning the game's last two hitters with the tying run at the plate.

"We don't really have a closer," Breuninger said. "We're just doing it by committee, going with who we think can get the job done today.

"Perry gutted it out for us today and giving up two runs early. He shut them out two or three innings after that and went as long as he could."