Cleveland (10-12, 3-5) got what it wanted in the early going defensively against the Cherokees (3-19, 2-8) behind Jake Wyrick, who struck out five batters in the first two innings. Offensively, the Raiders left three runners on base in the first two frames. Cleveland had bodies on second and third with no outs in the second but failed to produce.
Wyrick continued to give the Blue Raiders a chance, fanning two more Cherokees in the third. The Blue Raiders’ lefty surrendered only one hit, sat down 15 Cherokees and walked two.
“The biggest thing tonight was the performance on the mound,” said Cleveland coach Ted Carson. “Jake was in command. He worked ahead throwing first-pitch strikes and had good movement and velocity on his fastball. He threw his curve ball every now and then to keep them off balance a little bit. He did a real good job.”
The Cleveland offense took advantage of its chances in the bottom half of the inning, putting two runs on the board.
Jesse Jones doubled down the right-field line scoring Robert Parr who had reached on a two-out walk. Jones moved to third on a wild pitch and Kimsey Bell stood on first after being hit by a pitch. Jones made it 2-0 on a throw to second when the Cherokees tried to catch Bell stealing.
“We had some real good base running. We got a couple of timely hits and put a little pressure on them. We also played some good defense — we didn’t have any errors tonight. Good pitching helps with that. Jake did an excellent job on the mound and that always helps the defense,” said Carson.
The Blue Raiders did some more damage in the fifth inning, scoring three runs without the benefit of a hit. McMinn issued two intentional passes, one unintentional walk and committed two errors to help Cleveland take a 5-0 lead.
Cleveland padded its lead in the bottom of the sixth. Jones and Bell smacked back-to-back singles and Conor Hale added another hit to make it 8-0.
“We had some good heads up running in the game today. I’m proud of the kids for that and bouncing back after last night’s loss. We’re getting better. We’ve made strides from where we were earlier in the year. Our pitching is coming around and hopefully our bats will come around and we will get that good combination going through the lineup.”
BLUE RAIDERS 8, CHEROKEES 0
McMinn County 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Cleveland 002 033 x — 8 7 0
WP: Jake Wyrick. LP: Matt James. 2B: Jesse Jones (C). Highlights: Cody Wade 1-2 (MC); Kimsey Bell 2-3, Jones 2-3. Records: McMinn County 3-19, 2-8 District 5-AAA; Cleveland 10-12, 3-6.