But, the Lady Raiders thought otherwise and rallied back with three runs in the bottom of the first.
In the end Cleveland's defense faltered at crucial moments and the offense could not keep up with the Bearettes' bats in the 14-7 loss.
"We let them get too many on us to begin with. We had too many errors on defense in this game, and that started in the first inning. But the girls actually made more progress today. But, the errors hurt us," said Lady Raiders coach Connie Stobert.
The Bearettes (7-16, 4-7 District 5-AAA) opened with a single by Mikala Ard and followed up with hits from Abby Abernathy and Emmaly Morgan. They were helped along in the five-run half inning with two walks and a Cleveland error.
The Lady Raiders answered in the bottom of the first with three runs, beginning with Shay Sparks and Hannah Holland reaching base on an error and a bunt single, respectively. Sparks put the first run of the game up for Cleveland, scoring on a rundown. Holland crossed the plate for Cleveland courtesy of a Brittany Arnold single. The Lady Raiders made it a 5-3 game on singles from Jasmine Martin and Haley Hodgson.
"We hit well, but we just get in those little moments when we just start throwing the ball around sometimes, when we should just hold it and be done with whatever the play is," said Bearettes coach Christie McElhanie. "We've got to work on that before we go into our last district game."
The Bearettes took a 6-3 lead on a Von Harrison single and Cleveland miscue in the second and moved out to an 8-3 lead in the third thanks to hits by Ard and Tori Roberts.
Bradley Central ran it to 10-3 in the fifth with hits from Chanler Grady, Cassandra Fowler and another Cleveland error.
"Our goal is when we get people in scoring position to work hard to score them and we did that for the most part. When we got somebody on second base, they were coming home," said McElhaney. "I'm proud of them for really working hard and staying up in the box waiting on their pitch.
The Lady Raiders fought back to make it a game in the bottom of the inning starting with a single off the bat of Sparks. Back-to-back hits by Abi Dye and Arnold kept the run going. Dye scored on a fielder's choice and Arnold made it a 10-6 game, scoring on the second rundown of the game.
The Bearettes added insurance runs in the seventh on singles from Grady and Meghan Ward. The run was capped off with a double to deep center off the bat of Roberts.
The Lady Raiders fought back for one more run in the bottom of the inning on a Dye sacrifice that scored Parks to make the final 14-7.
The Lady Raiders will cross the bridge to Rhea County Monday before closing out district play with a makeup game at Walker Valley Tuesday.
The Bearettes go to Athens for a last district tilt with McMinn County. A final regular season game is scheduled for Wednesday against Sale Creek at Bradley Central.
"We are down to one pitcher and there wasn't much we could do as far as switching them in and out," said Stobert. "But, we made contact and put the ball in play. We were smarter on the bases, which helped, and we were able to produce some runs, and I am proud of them for that."
BEARETTES 14, LADY RAIDERS 7
Bradley Central 511 220 3 — 14 12 4
Cleveland 300 300 1 — 7 8 6
WP: Allison Conley. LP: Haley Hodgson. 3B: Torre Roberts (BC). Other highlights: Mikala Ard 2-5, Roberts 2-5, Von Harrison 2-4, Chanler Grady 3-4 (BC); Shay Sparks 2-4, Brittany Arnold 2-4 (C). Records: Bradley Central 7-16, 4-7 District 5-AAA; Cleveland 0-24, 0-9 District 5-AAA.