The frustration has been impossible to miss.
After a 12-7 defeat at home to McMinn County in a District 5-AAA contest in which Cleveland made six errors and allowed five earned runs, a …
The frustration has been impossible to miss.
After a 12-7 defeat at home to McMinn County in a District 5-AAA contest in which Cleveland made six errors and allowed five earned runs, a heart-to-heart moment was needed late Wednesday night.
After being the preseason favorites to win the district, another day went awry for the Blue Raiders who fell to 10-16-1 overall and 2-8 in league play.
“This is a team game played on a highly competitive individual level,” said CHS head coach Preston Scoggins. “Guys have to be able to step up through the lineup and in the field. After the game, I told our seniors this could be the last few weeks where they get to put on a uniform or play organized team sports.
“I hope they take their last few opportunities to their fullest advantage. If they can, they can go home without regretting anything.”
For the second straight Wednesday, Cleveland committed half a dozen errors in a makeup district contest. The blunders in the field all came from the fifth inning on, which they entered only down 2-1 to a scrappy McMinn group.
“We are at the spot where our pitchers are trying to make perfect pitches,” Scoggins said. “We preach to our hurlers to have faith in their defense, but going into the seventh inning we had more errors (six) than we did runs (three). It makes it hard to win ballgames that way.”
With a no-hitter against the Cherokees back on April 4 in a 5-0 victory, junior Camden Sewell took the loss for the Blue Raiders, despite a relatively strong outing.
The only two runs allowed through four innings by Sewell were on a wild pitch and a passed ball in the second inning. The University of Tennessee commit, who touched 88 mph on the radar gun, allowed two hits, three runs (one earned) and struck out six through four innings of 71-pitch work.
His scoreless streak came to an end at 25 2/3 innings, a span in which he fanned 43 batters and allowed just four hits.
Cleveland took the first lead of the night, but was only able to scrap three runs across in the first six innings before a four-run seventh highlighted by Collin Hubbard’s 2-RBI double down the third base line. The Blue Raiders finished with nine hits and left seven stranded.
A three-run home run tomahawked by Bradley Hayes over the left field fence gave the Cherokees a 12-3 lead in a five-run top of the seventh. McMinn had 10 hits, three of which went for extra bases.
John Curtis picked up the win and struck out seven through six sharp innings of three-run ball.
“I guess we thought since Camden shoved it to them last time, he was going to do the same,” Scoggins said. “We usually come out hot in the first, but then we have a lot of goose eggs in the middle innings. We have to find a way to scratch out some more runs and hold strong in the field to give our pitchers some support.”
Sewell led all with three hits at the plate and had one of five doubles for Cleveland along with Ezequiel Jesurum, Dylan Turner, Emery King and Hubbard. However, the Blue Raiders did not have consecutive hits until the seventh inning as Sewell and Hubbard drove shots down both lines.
Scoggins’ group will now prepare for the Trojan Classic this weekend and will face a state-ranked opponent in Goodpasture to start the action, with first pitch scheduled for 7 tonight at Bradley Central. They will also face Collierville (Friday), Station Camp and White County (Saturday) in a tough tournament.
Cleveland will conclude regular season district play against East Hamilton next Monday and Tuesday.
“We are trying to work toward the tournament and peak at the right time,” Scoggins said. “You never know with this game. In this district we are all so competitive and I think it will be an interesting postseason. Everyone will enter 0-0.”
CHEROKEES 12, BLUE RAIDERS 7
McMinn County 020 041 5 — 12 10 2
Cleveland 100 011 4 — 7 9 6
WP: John Curtis 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 7 K. LP: Camden Sewell 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 6 K, 4 BB, HBP. 2B: Emery King, Ezequiel Jesurum, Camden Sewell, Dylan Turner (C); McMinn 2. HR: Bradley Hayes (MC); Highlights: Sewell 3-4 RBI. Hubbard 2 RBIs. Trevor Ramsey 2 RBIs. King RBI (C).
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