The normally hard-hitting Owls only managed six hits in their 4-0 win over the Raiders.
Fourth-seeded Cleveland opened their tournament run strong with a 7-1 victory over Rhea County, the No. 5 seed, on Wednesday evening.
Despite a strong start, the Raiders knew that they were in for an uphill battle as they took on the well-rested Owls.
Ooltewah, led by pitcher Zach Thompson, allowed Cleveland only two hits throughout the seven-inning game.
The first hit for the Raiders came on a single by pitcher Jake Wyrick in the opening at bat, while the other was a double by Eric Powers in the seventh frame.
“Their pitcher did a good job of throwing strikes, and we just couldn’t catch up with his fast ball. He had a curveball and brought that in there when he needed to. We had two hits, one in the first inning and one in the last,” Raider head coach Ted Carson explained.
Cleveland was able to hold off Ooltewah’s batters until the bottom of the third, when the Owls got their first run of the evening.
In the bottom of the fourth, the No. 1-seeded team added two more runs to the scoreboard.
Ooltewah’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth.
For his part, Wyrick was able to strike out seven Owl batters while going the distance on the mound for the Raiders.
“Jake did a great job pitching. It should have been a lot closer than 4-0,” Carson commented. “Jake pitched well enough to win.”
Cleveland will have today off as they wait for the results of tonight’s matchup between Walker Valley and McMinn County. The Raiders will play the winning team on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Carson hopes to see his team show up like they did in their opening game against Rhea County.
Cleveland has been hailed as the dark horse of the tournament. In their previous meetings with the Mustangs, it was the Raiders who came out on top, 7-3 and 9-2 in the two-game series.
“We have to swing the bats like we did the first game and score runs,” said Carson.
OWLS 4, BLUE RAIDERS 0
Cleveland 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Ooltewah 001 201 x — 4 6 0
WP: Zach Thompson LP: Jake Wyrick 2B: Hayden Bradley, Brody Binder, Logan Fugate (O); Eric Powers (C). Other highlights: Powers 1-3, Wyrick 1-3. Records: Cleveland 15-19; Ooltewah 20-11