The Blue Raiders got off on the right foot with two runs in the first, but soon found themselves in a battle to the finish. It took a walk-off double by Robert Parr in the Raiders’ final at bat for Cleveland to notch the 8-7 win.
“It was a good win. Our kids battled back after getting down a couple of times. Connor Mitchell came in and did a good job. We had some big hits. Kimsey Bell had a big pinch hit and the last one by Parr was excellent,” said Cleveland coach Ted Carson.
Tyler Shugart started it off for the Raiders the way every coach wants with a double down the right-field line. Jake Wyrick stepped in next and trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. Both runners scored when Jake Moats laced a single up the middle to make it 2-0.
Tyler Croft, after replacing Nick Miller, who reached on an error, on first, scored on a 2-out single by Wyrick to make it 3-0 in the bottom of the second.
The Buccaneers used three consecutive singles to load the bases in the top of the fourth. Then, with a 2-0 count, Carson pulled starter Collin Tippit in favor of Jackson Earle. The righty reliever walked two runs in before getting the first out on a strikeout. Boyd tied the game, 3-3, on a fielder’s choice before Earle finished the inning with his second strikeout.
Cleveland wasted no time taking the lead back in the Raiders’ half of the inning. Shugart worked Buccaneers’ pitching for a one-out walk and later scored on a double to left-center field off the bat of Robert Parr. Wyrick, who had earlier singled, scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Moats to give Cleveland a 5-3 lead.
The action did not stop when the Blue Raiders headed back out to the field. A single, double and walk loaded the bases for the Bucs with one out. A sacrifice fly made it 5-4. A wild pitch knotted the game again at 5-5 before a fly ball ended the inning.
After holding Cleveland scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, the Buccaneers took their first lead of the night on back-to-back Cleveland errors and Carson decided to make another pitching change, bringing Connor Mitchell to the mound. Mitchell fanned one and got a ground ball and fly-out to get Cleveland out of the inning trailing 7-5.
The Raiders got the runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Another Moats sacrifice fly scored Parr, who singled to lead off for Cleveland. Pinch hitter Kimsey Bell singled in Jesse Jones to tie the game at 7-7.
The Buccaneers tried to retaliate in their last at bat with a lead-off double that eventually lead to the go-ahead run being thrown out at the plate on a hard ground ball back to mound. Mitchell’s second strikeout of the inning put a stop to the threat with the score still tied.
Shugart started the beginning of the final frame by reaching first on a Buccaneer error. A wild pitch put the Blue Raiders in scoring position as Parr stepped into the batter’s box. Parr sent the Raiders home with a win with a single swing of the bat that sent the horsehide rocketing to left-center field for a double that scored Shugart giving Cleveland the 8-7 win.
“We didn’t execute our sacrifice bunt. We didn’t get it down, but luckily we got a wild pitch and got Tyler in scoring position. Then he got the big hit. It was a very good hit,” said Carson.
“This gives us confidence going into the district. It’s better than a loss and anything can happen once you get to tournament time.”
BLUE RAIDERS 8, BUCCANEERS 7
Boyd-Buchanan 000 322 0 — 7 7 3
Cleveland 210 202 1 — 8 9 3
WP: Connor Mitchell: LP: John Hale; 2B: Jim Cardwell (BB); Robert Parr Tyler Shugart (C). Highlights: Cardwell 2-4 (BB); Parr 2-4, Jake Wyrick 2-3.