Magnolia Takes Control

NEW MARTINSVILLE – Kyle Elliott did a little bit of everything Monday, giving Magnolia fans a taste of what they can possibly expect as the sophomore progresses through the years.

In earning a 9-0 victory against Tyler Consolidated in the first game of their West Virginia Class AA Region One, Section Two tourney, Elliott struck out 13, allowing no runs on five hits in a complete-game effort.

While the Magnolia bats weren’t exactly on fire (save for a 3-for-4 performance from all-everything Justin Fox), Elliott showed he could swing a big stick with a two-run home run in the sixth inning and also play some small ball, executing a perfect squeeze bunt that scored Fox in the fifth inning.

”Kyle Elliott threw real, real well,” Magnolia coach Dave Cisar said. ”Good location, good curveball. Real good offspeed pitch.

”He struggled a time or two with his curveball this year and we asked him to work on it. He seemed like as the game went on, he got a little tired because he pitched a few innings on Friday, but his curve ball was on. I’m real happy with him. He’s a sophomore that pitched like a senior.

”Also, he struggled at the plate but still stayed focused enough to hit a line-drive home run in the last inning.”

For a game that was 19-0 in favor of the Blue Eagles (10-6) the first time the teams met, Tyler Consolidated came out with a lot of energy and through the first four innings, held Magnolia to two hits. Although one of those was a homer to straightaway center from Fox, Silver Knights pitcher Dalton Wells was keeping the Magnolia hitters off-balance.

But the third time through the order, Magnolia finally started to get into a groove and get to Wells.

”A few breaks go this way and a few go that way, you have a different game,” Tyler Consolidated coach Gene Rice said. ”Dave Cisar goes into small ball. He finds good, consistent hitters and will put those guys in the 2-3 order to get on base and then comes the sticks.

”He also keeps a pitch count on the pitcher. He knows when he is keeping balls up, he knows when he is getting tired and hanging some stuff.”

Magnolia scored four runs in the fifth and sixth innings to give Elliott some breathing room.

Fox started off the fifth with a single up the middle, moved to second on an error, and stole third base before Elliott squeezed him home. Cameron Benson followed two batters later with an RBI single before Cisar went to his bench and summoned Chandler Sapp, who hit a two-run single for a 5-0 lead.

The sixth started much the same as Fox hit a double down the left-field line, followed by Elliott’s blast. Benson doubled and Traeh Keller walked and they were brought home by Sapp with a two-run double.

”For five innings, their pitcher did a heckuva nice job,” Cisar said. ”Baseball is one of those games where you never can tell. We’ve never got into a rhythm this year and we hope we can come out (today) and do the same thing.

”It wasn’t decisive early in the game, but 9-0 is a solid win for us. Tyler was impressive for the first five innings, but I don’t want to take anything away from our guys. Baseball is a game of outs and we did a pretty job of getting outs.”

Garrett Amos and Cody Laugh each hit two singles for the Silver Knights (6-13).

The teams get together at 5 p.m. today at Tyler Consolidated in Game 2 of the Best-of-3 showdown.