By Tim Chambers
The New York Yankees won four consecutive World Series titles from 1936-1939 with the help of its cagey pitcher named Lefty Gomez.
Elizabethton stamped its ticket to the program’s first state tournament since 1958 because of a Hall of Fame-like effort on the mound from another lefty, Dylan “Gomez” Richardson.
The crafty southpaw gave up six hits and allowed only one run as the Cyclones denied Christian Academy of Knoxville 6-1 in Class AA sub-state play Friday night at Joe O’Brien Field.
Richardson threw three innings then weathered an 85-minute rain delay before coming back to pitch the final four frames. He fanned six and walked four but his most impressive stat was his ability to pitch out of trouble.
CAK left 11 base runners stranded in the game including seven over the final three innings. But nothing seemed to bother him.
“He doesn’t get rattled and that’s a huge plus, especially in big games,” said Elizabethton head coach Joe Nix. “To be honest, I was thinking today about how he would respond in the biggest game he’s pitched this year. Obviously he did fine.”
Elizabethton’s last trip to the state tournament was 55 years ago in 1958 when the Claude Holsclaw-coached squad finished runner-up.
The program’s only other trip was in 1954 and they lost in the first round to Memphis Westview, who won the single classification event.
Any thought of a state tournament appearance in 2013 was only a dream after EHS began its year with a 6-8 mark. But the Cyclones have since won 22 of their last 24 games. They now stand at 28-10 and will open play Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Smyrna High School in Murfreesboro against Pigeon Forge High School, a team with an impressive 35-2 record.