The teams were tied 7-all as Soddy’s lead-off hitter in the top of the 11th, Dev DeMatteo, stepped up to the plate.
With a thunderous crack of the bat, DeMatteo blasted one over the fence and brought the Raiders’ postseason run to an end.
“It was a great high school ball gams and that’s just how it ended up due to them getting that big hit right there in the end,” Cleveland head coach Ted Carson stated
Despite the four extra innings, the action in the diamond didn’t get fully turned up until the bottom of the fourth.
With one out on the board, Soddy’s Caden Picketts received a free pass to first and was able to reach second on a wild pitch. Christian Amos advanced Picketts to third. The first run of the game came from a hit by Cale Morgan. A hit to center field by DeMatteo brought Amos in for the final run of the inning.
The Raiders got their bats off to a “smashing” good start as senior Parker Carson launched a home run to lead off the fifth inning.
With one out, Jay McIntire stepped up to the plate and landed himself in scoring position with a triple. Hunter Oliver didn’t leave his teammate hanging at third for long, driving McIntire in for the tying run with a hit to center field.
The Raiders continued their roll with two outs and runners on first and second when Derek Nichols stepped into the batter’s box. A swing of the bat later, Nichols’ triple brought home both Oliver and Taylor Thompson.
The Trojans battled back in the bottom of the fifth as starting pitcher Thompson, who had walked seven and struck out three, was pulled for a reliever. Soddy loaded up the bases with only one out on the board and seconds later, a Trojan trotted home after a walk. A second walk resulted in another run and another pitching change for the Raiders who sent in Chantz Placek. The Trojan bats drove in another run to take a 5-4 lead before the inning was closed out.
Cleveland answered immediately as Oliver drove home Carson in the top of the sixth to tie the game.
The two teams remained in a dead heat under the blazing heat of the afternoon sun for the seventh inning, forcing the game into extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, the Cleveland bats got going once again in the ninth.
Starting off the top of the inning on the right foot, Oliver fired off a double that ricocheted off the left field fence. A ground ball by Placek got Oliver to a comfortable position on third. A fielding error by the Trojans’ second baseman during Austin Dykes’ at bat gave Oliver the chance to reach home plate.
A followup hit by Nichols loaded the bags with no outs. Koltyn Plumb walked to first after being hit by a pitch, which brought in the Raiders’ second and final run of the ninth, giving Cleveland a 7-5 lead.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Trojans were able to battle back and add two more runs to the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, tying the game up 7-all.
The Raiders had the chance to run away with the game in the top of the 10th with two outs and a bases-loaded situation. The next batter was called out at first however, ending the threat for Soddy-Daisy.
After a scoreless 10th frame, Cleveland was dealt a quick one, two, three blow in the top of the 11th before DeMatteo’s homer on a 3-1 pitch to lead off the bottom of the frame sealed the Raiders fate, despite their valiant effort.
“We had great effort today. Some guys really stepped up. Taylor (Thompson) did a good job and then Chance (Placek) came in and threw the ball great, but just got a little tired there in the end,” Coach Carson explained. “It was a long game and it was hot out there, but they did great. I’m proud of the kids and the effort that they put in.”
Placek recorded three strikeouts and walked three Trojans during his five-plus innings on the mound.
Soddy-Daisy will play Walker Valley, who topped Ooltewah Sunday evening, tonight at 7 in an elimination game.
OWLS 7, BLUE RAIDERS 3
Cleveland 000 041 002 00 — 7 14 3
Ooltewah 000 230 002 01 — 8 11 2
WP: Andy Wright LP: Chantz Placek. HR: Parker Carson (C); Dev DeMatteo (SD). 3B: Jay McIntire, Derek Nichols (C). 2B: Hunter Oliver (C); Caden Pickets, Andy Wright (SD). Highlights: Oliver 2 RBIs; Nichols 2 RBI; Austin Dykes RBI (C). Records: Cleveland 10-20; Soddy-Daisy 18-15.