Walker Valley's John Simmons pitched well enough to get the win for the Mustangs in their District 5-AAA battle with Cleveland Tuesday night, but it was the Blue Raiders' Colin Tippitt who walked away with the win after holding the Mustangs to only three hits in the 3-2 Cleveland victory.
"Three hits don't get it, two runs don't get it very often. We've got to hit more than that, we've got to score more than that," said Mustangs coach Joe Shamblin after the loss. "That's the way it's going for us right now."
Tippitt gave up the three hits before being relieved with a 3-2 lead by Chantz Placek in the bottom of the sixth.
"Colin has been solid for us on the mound. He gave us five good innings then (Chantz) Placek came in and did an excellent job to shut them down in the last two innings three up and three down," Blue Raiders coach Ted Carson said of his pitchers.
"If we could just put a string of these together we'd be all right. We had some good pitching, some good defense and had a couple of timely hits. That's a winning combination, we haven't had that a whole lot this year. We executed, we got a couple of bunts down that helped us out and got things going."
Cleveland put the first run on the board in the top of the third. Clint Clayton led off with a single and crossed the plate on David Queen's two-out single to deep short.
The Mustangs came right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 1-1. Tucker Mendenhall opened with a bunt single and later scored on a fielder's choice.
The Blue Raiders took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning when Clint Clayton walked and scored on an RBI double to right-center field off the bat of Hunter Oliver.
The Mustangs came right back to tie it in the bottom half of the inning. Elijah West walked with one out, John Simmons singled with two outs and Dillan Church loaded the bases on a Cleveland error. The second walk of the inning scored West to tie the game at 2-2.
Taylor Thompson singled to center to lead off the Cleveland fourth and stood on third after a Walker Valley error and sacrifice by Derek Nichols. Joseph Martin put the Raiders on top with a single to score Thompson.
"We've struggled. I'm proud of these kids. One thing we haven't done is give up, and we haven't loafed. We've played hard, things just haven't come out our way all the time," said Carson.
Placek came on with no out and a runner on in the bottom of the inning and struck out the side to preserve the Cleveland lead. Three fly balls to right in the seventh gave the Blue Raiders the win.
"It's frustrating. The pitchers are doing what they need to do. I had a coach that used to say if you can hold them to under five runs you ought to win every game. It's a shame we are holding them to three and we can't win those," said Shamblin.
"John did a good job and Zach did a good job coming in. We've just got to learn to hit it. We're working our butts off but it's just not paying off right now."
BLUE RAIDERS 3, MUSTANGS 2
Cleveland 001 011 0 — 2 7 3
Walker Valley 001 010 0 — 2 3 2
WP: Colin Tippitt. LP: John Simmons. 2B: Hunter Oliver (C). Records: Cleveland 5-7, 2-7; Walker Valley 7-14