“It is completely in our hands,” said Rappahannock coach Larry Barker, “We don’t have to rely on anyone else. We just need to keep winning.”
Against Washington and Lee the Raiders overcame an early W&L lead. Washington and Lee took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Jarret Sumiel walked and scored on a base hit by Danny Mundy. An outstanding defensive play by Tucker Douglas on Mundy’s hit kept the Eagles from scoring a second run. Douglas threw out Cullen Bell to end the inning and squash what could have been an early big inning for the Eagles. The Raiders tied the game at one apiece in the top of second when Douglas led off with a single and scored on a base hit by Devin Sisson.
In the top of the third the Raiders broke the game open with four more runs. Eamonn Collins led off the inning with a double. Douglas walked, and Sisson drove both runners in with a double. Ken Pierson walked, and Hunter Sanders proceeded to drive in Sisson and Pierson with a double. Meanwhile, Raider starting pitcher Will Hoover was holding down the Eagles. Overall, Hoover pitched five and two-thirds for the Raiders striking out eleven batters and allowing only two runs.
The Raiders added one more run in the top of the fourth. Hoover led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Romeo Jackson ran for Hoover and stole second base. Jackson later scored on Mitchell Hale’s single. The Eagles added a run in the bottom of fifth to make the score 6-2 in favor of Rappahannock. In the bottom of the sixth, Washington and Lee loaded the bases with two outs, but Collins came in to pitch for the Raiders and got Carrington Balderson to ground out ending the Eagle threat. Sisson came on to pitch the seventh for the Raiders and held Washington and Lee scoreless and the Raiders took the victory.
On Friday night in Tappahannock, the Raiders and the Trojans from Essex High School locked horns in a low-scoring pitchers duel. The game was scoreless through the first four innings until Essex scored a single run in the bottom of the fifth. Alex Balderson hit a sacrifice fly that scored Dre Baylor from third and Essex took a 1-0 lead. In the top of the sixth, the Raiders rallied to tie the game at one apiece. Marquis Lanier walked to lead off the inning. Will Hoover followed Lanier with a double which moved Lanier to second. Collins then tied the game with a sacrifice fly that scored Lanier.
Neither team scored in the seventh and the game went into extra innings. After a scoreless eighth inning the Raiders finally won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sisson led off the inning with a single. Dylan Dunn’s sacrifice bunt moved Sisson to second, and Sanders, who had previously singled in the game, moved Sisson to third with a ground-out to second. The stage was set for Chance Herbert to drive in Sisson with a groundball between the Trojans’ second and first basemen. The Essex second made an acrobatic catch but Herbert’s hustle forced a rushed throw which got away from the first basemen scoring Sisson and the Raiders had won the game.
The game was dominated by strong pitching performances by both teams. Ryan Wind pitched the first seven innings for Essex allowing only a single Raider run. Dunn started the game for Rappahannock and pitched four and two-thirds innings striking out seven hitters and allowing only one run. Collins came on to relieve Dunn in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and preceded to end the inning with a strike out. Collins pitched the remaining four and one-third innings and struck out nine Trojan hitters. The game ended with Essex loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth and Collins striking out the final Essex hitter to preserve the Raider victory. The win against Essex kept the Raiders in first place in the Northern Neck District. The Raiders play Northumberland at home on Monday, Colonial Beach away on Tuesday, and end their season at Lancaster on Thursday.
The Colonial Beach Varsity Baseball Team extended their losing streak to three after two district losses each to Essex and Lancaster last week.
As a result this has pushed the Drifters back in the race for a spot in the district tournament beginning next week.
“Our frustration point is coming to a head as we struggle at the plate against good pitching,” Colonial Beach coach Steve Swope said. “We will continue to battling as our backs are you against the wall to reach postseason play.”
Essex’s sophomore lefthander Kinston Carson allowed only one run on four hits while striking out 11. The Trojans pushed across two runs in the first inning and that became enough as the Drifters failed to mount any rally with their four team hits.
Sophomore Nick Graves pitched six innings in the tough luck loss. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits and struck out seven himself. Graves banged out two of his team’s four hits, a double and a single.
Second baseman Horton doubled and scored when Smith singled him across in the fourth inning.
Essex’s Drew Baylor had three singles and scored a run to pace the Trojans to the Northern Neck District win.