Blue Raiders win three in 22 hours

Posted 3/23/19

A trio of victories in less than 22 hours has hopefully helped Cleveland turn the tide on a tough start to the TSSAA baseball season.Cleveland coach Preston Scoggins thought it would be a good idea …

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Blue Raiders win three in 22 hours


A trio of victories in less than 22 hours has hopefully helped Cleveland turn the tide on a tough start to the TSSAA baseball season.

Cleveland coach Preston Scoggins thought it would be a good idea to invite Sequatchie County to town for a couple of games on a perfect Friday for baseball.

Turns out, it was definitely a good night for the Blue Raiders.

Cleveland erupted for five runs in the bottom of the third inning, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead and eventual 8-3 win over Sequatchie County in the first game of a Friday twi-night doubleheader at Raider Field.

The Blue Raiders kept the offense going with an 11-2 rout in the nightcap and then turned around at noon Saturday and handed Plainview a 10-3 loss to take back to Alabama.

Scoggins hopes the momentum continues as his Raiders (4-3, 0-2 District 5-AAA) square off against county rival Walker Valley (1-4, 0-4) Monday and Tuesday, in a home-and-home tilt. Both teams will be looking for their first district wins tomorrow evening at Mike Turner Field before gathering at Raider Field the next night. 

Starting pitcher Jonathan Powers got the win in game one Friday, holding the Indians to a single run before turning the horsehide over to Will Goodman, who finished out the win.

The Raiders rattled Sequatchie pitching for 11 hits while scoring runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

"We kind of 'pushed' into the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Hopefully we can carry the momentum. We need to keep putting pressure on the defense. I think a lot of my guys were able to execute tonight. We were able to get some bunts down and we were fighting with two strikes and putting balls in play, putting pressure on the defense," Scoggins noted.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with a unearned run, the Raiders blew open the game in the lower half of the third, after falling behind 2-1.

A lead-off walk led to four straight hits, a pair of runs and a 3-1 Cleveland lead. Raiders' third baseman Elvin Vargas put Cleveland on top 4-1 with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to score Ethan Jones. Jonathan Powers and Hayden Tinsley kept the inning alive with RBIs to give a 6-2 lead to the Raiders.

Landen Beaty ripped a two-out double to left-center field that led to the Vargas squeeze.

"We were able to put up a big, crooked number in the third, and that helped us out a ton. It kind of uplifted the kids and kept them in it," said Scoggins.

The Raiders added two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth, on hits from Ryan Lee and Kley McGowan. A bases-load balk scored scored Lee, and McGowan raced home on a ground ball to third base.

Both teams had two balks over the course of seven innings.

The Raiders' defense kept the Indians from getting back into the game in the fifth and sixth innings with sparkling defensive plays.

Vargas crashed to the ground leaping for a high chopper to his left in the fifth, but swiftly recovered with a 180-degree pivot and perfect throw to first for the first out of the inning.

The Indians scored a single run in the sixth, but a pair of brilliant defensive plays kept Sequatchie from turning momentum.

With the sun directly in the eyes of the Raiders' defense, a high fly ball to center  sailed over the head of Robert Flowers. But, Flowers quickly recovered with a perfect throw to the relay man, who fired a perfect strike home where Lee put an easy tag on the Sequatchie runner.

Tinsley, who handled the Flowers relay from his shortstop position, came through again minutes later with another perfect throw to the plate for the second out of the inning. Will Godwin, on the mound in relief of Powers, got a groundout and two batters later ended the inning.

The Indians got a runner on base in the top of the seventh on a Cleveland error, but the miscue was quickly erased with the final two outs of the game preserving the 8-3 win.

"That was a huge couple of plays. We kind of misread a ball out there, but we did a great job of getting it in. Robert (Flowers) did a great job of getting it to our cut-off.

"Our shortstop made two outstanding throws in that inning – being in the right spot at the right time, picking it up, finding the guy he has to throw it to and letting it fly. He put both of them on the money and gave our catcher a chance to catch the ball and tag (the runners) with some time," praised Scoggins. "That could have definitely built some momentum for them. If they push across one or two runs, that changes the whole dynamic of the ballgame. But, because of the throws, we can't get beat with one swing. When we're up five we can't [even] get beat with a grand slam."

"The guys were out here making plays tonight, so you can't complain about that."

Game Two


In the nightcap, Cleveland scored in all but the opening inning, including a trio of rallies that scored three or more runs.

Tinsley led the 10-hit attack, going 2-for-2, plus drawing a pair of walks and getting plunked once. He also drove in a couple of teammates and scored once himself.

McGowan also rapped out a pair of hits and worked the Indian hurler for a freebie, while Lee laced a RBI-double. Beaty also drove in two more runs.

Hayden Sells earned the pitching victory, allowing just one earned run in five innings on the bump. He struck out four and walked three. Beaty and Flowers both worked an inning of hitless relief to secure the win.

Saturday game


After falling in a 2-0 hole, Cleveland completeded the circuit at least once in its final five at bats, including putting up a 5-spot in the bottom of the fifth frame.

Leading the third straight double-digit base hit performance for the Raiders, Beaty went 3-for-4 at the dish with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Powers went "deuces" with two hits, two runs and two RBIs, while Sam Wyrick and Jack Pullen added a pair of hits apiece. Wyrick drove in a couple of teammates and scored a run, while Pullen circled the bases twice.

Lee and Tinsley both ripped two-baggers, with the latter plating a pair of teammates.

McGowan earned the pitching victory with 4 1/3 innings of relief work, striking out four Plainview batters while allowing just one earned run. 


At Raider Field

Saturday afternoon

Plainview (Ala.)1100001 —  3  7 2

Cleveland011251  x — 10  12 1

WP: Kley McGowan. LP: n/a. 2B: Ryan Lee, Hayden Tinsley (C). 3B: Landen Beaty (C). Records:  Plainview (Ala.) n/a; Cleveland 4-3.

Friday (doubleheader)


Sequatchie County0020010 — 3  7 2

Cleveland015200x — 8 11 1

WP: Jonathan Powers. LP: Collin Hudson. 2B: Trevor Ritchie (SC); Landen Beaty 2 (C). Records:  Sequatchie County 4-3; Cleveland 2-3.


Sequatchie County0010100 —  2  4 2

Cleveland031430x — 11 10 1

WP: Hayden Sells. LP: n/a. 2B: Ryan Lee (C). Records: Sequatchie County 4-4; Cleveland 3-3.


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