It was a big starting effort by Cleveland High School’s Jake Wyrick as the Raiders took the diamond against Rhea County in the opening round of the District 5-AAA tournament Wednesday night.
@:Wyrick took a no-hitter into sixth and held off an Eagle rally late to lead his team to the big 4-2 win.
“Jake had a really good outing tonight. I don’t know that we could have asked much more from him. He really battled and gave us a heck of an outing,” stated Cleveland head coach Ted Carson postgame.
Offensively, the Raiders had some chances early thanks to a handful of Rhea defensive miscues, but lapses on the basepads ended the offensive push before it could ever begin.
The stalemate was broken in the bottom of the third when Reed Allison led things off with a one-out base on balls. Tyler Shugart followed up with a single, but Wyrick grounded into the fielder’s choice to put men on the corners.
Robert Parr drew a walk to load the bases, and Jesse Jones put the Raiders on the board when he drew an RBI bases-loaded walk.
Another run came in when Rhea’s hurler was called for a balk. Kimsey Bell drew one last walk to re-load the bases before the Eagles managed to escape the jam.
Rhea threatened in the top half of the fourth when their leadoff man reached safely on an error. He then moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Yet, Wyrick didn’t allow the circumstance to fluster him, and he rung up the next three batters to keep the shutout and the no-hitter alive.
Cleveland got a second offensive surge in the bottom of the fifth when Wyrick led off the inning with a walk. Tyler Croft came in to pinch run for the pitcher. Jesse Jones advanced him on a one-out sacrifice groundout. Bell notched a single to put runners at first and third, and advanced into scoring position himself on a wild pitch.
Jake Moats came up big with an RBI single that scored Croft, and during a late throw to first the ball escaped the Rhea County defense, allowing another run to cross the plate and giving the Raiders the 4-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth Wyrick retired his first batter on a fly-out, but a one-out Eagle single brought the no-no to an end. The starter responded by notching strikeouts 12 and 13 to end the inning.
There was new life in the Rhea County dugout with the hit though, and players seemingly sprung back to life, sensing that perhaps they still had a chance.
Cleveland went down in order in the top of the sixth, and the Eagles saw their chance to mount a comeback.
They led off the top of the final frame with a towering double. Wyrick struck out the next batter, but back-to-back singles ended the shutout by driving in the first run.
With emotions high Wyrick walked the next Rhea batter, and a second run crossed the plate on an RBI fielder’s choice.
The Eagles had runners on first and third with two out and still down a pair of runs, buy Wyrick got the next batter on a groundout to halt the rally and end the game with a 4-2 Cleveland victory.
“We had some guys hit some hard balls tonight. The batters showed some good patience at the plate, and it paid off with walks and tough plays for the defense to make,” explained Carson.
Up next in tournament play the Raiders will face off against cross-county rival and top-seed Walker Valley, with first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m. at the McKenzie Baseball Complex.
“Walker Valley has a lot of talent. We will just have to go out tomorrow and practice and do what we can to get ready for Friday,” Carson stated.
RAIDERS 4, EAGLES 2
Rhea County 000 000 2 — 2 4 2
Cleveland 002 020 x — 4 4 1
WP: Jake Wyrick 7 IP, 14 Ks, 1 BB, 4 H, 2 ER. LP: J. Smith 6 IP, 3 Ks, 6 BB, 4 H, 3 ER. RBI: Jesse Jones, Jake Moats (CHS). Records: Cleveland 13-17.