The Raiders went into Friday night’s game against Boyd-Buchanan having lost their past four games with hopes of turning things around.
The Buccaneers, who are ranked seventh in the state’s Class A poll, were ultimately able to get the 6-4 win over the Raiders.
“Every game you’ve got to be ready to play. You can’t just go down through the motions,” Cleveland head coach Ted Carson said.
Things started out in the home team’s favor, and after a scoreless first inning, Cleveland was able get on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the second.
After being hit by a pitch, Taylor Thompson got on base first. A hit by Eric Powers was enough to get runners on first and second.
Austin Dykes’ sacrifice bunt advanced both runners to scoring positions.
Koltyn Plumb came up to bat and smashed the ball off of the center field fence for a double, driving both Thompson and Powers home.
The Raiders and starting pitcher Colin Tippitt held off Boyd’s bats until the fourth inning, when the visitors recorded their first run.
That one run was just a precursor of what was soon to come, as a disasterous fifth inning filled with a few too many Raider errors gave the Buccaneers a four-run lead.
“We had a bad fifth inning and that was the main difference in the game. They hit some balls and then we helped them by throwing it around and moving around,” Carson commented. “Colin did a pretty good job except for his last inning when they started getting his timing down.”
Tippitt started out the fifth by striking out the first Boyd batter.
Missed catches and poorly executed throws allowed the Buccaneers to quickly get four more runs in before the second out.
Jackson Earle took over the pitching duties but, thanks to a series of miscalculated actions by the Raiders, saw another Boyd runner make it home before closing things out.
“You’ve just got to catch it and throw it. We’ve been doing this long enough, we ought to be there by now,” Carson explained.
Cleveland’s bats were able to narrow the deficit to just two runs before the end of the fifth.
Jake Wyrick’s grounder got him to first, and a follow-up triple from Kimsey Bell brought him home.
A sacrifice hit from Thompson drove Bell home for the Raiders’ final run.
Earle was able to strikeout three Buccaneers during his time at the mound.
“Jackson Earle came in, and that was probably the bright spot of the night. He threw great those last three innings,” Carson said.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cleveland had the chance to either go to extra innings or win the game as they had two runners on base with two outs and Powers up to bat.
Sadly for the Raiders, his deep hit to center field was caught, bringing the game to a close.
This loss to Boyd-Buchanan marks Cleveland’s fifth in a row, with their last victory coming against Walker Valley on April 2.
The Raiders will attempt to pull out of their cold streak on Monday as they start their home-and-home series against district opponent Soddy-Daisy.
BUCCANEERS 6, BLUE RAIDERS 4
Boyd-Buchanan 000 150 0 — 6 5 1
Cleveland 020 020 0 — 4 8 5
WP: Josh Antwine (3-0) (BB); LP: Colin Tippitt (C). 3B: Kimsey Bell (C). 2B: Nathan Murrell, Austin Bailey (BB). Other highlights: Bell 3-4, RBI, run; Taylor Thompson 1-2, RBI, run; Eric Powers 2-4, run; Koltyn Plumb 1-2, 2 RBI Record: Cleveland 10-12, 4-3 5-AAA.