The Blue Raiders bounced back in a big way after Monday’s opening loss to McMinn County. Cleveland made the most of a sterling pitching performance from Taylor Thompson and took advantage of timely hitting to pick up a 4-1 District 5-AAA baseball win over the Cherokees
“It was a good game last night. They got a couple of bunts down and we didn’t field them. Our pitching did well for us tonight. We only gave up four hits and an unearned run,” Cleveland coach Ted Carson said of the turnaround victory.
The Blue Raiders (1-1, 1-1 District 5-AAA) scored single runs in the bottom of the first, third, fifth and sixth innings to secure the win.
Thompson held court on the mound for seven innings allowing only four hits from the Cherokees (1-1, 1-1). The Cleveland senior struck out 16 over the course of the night and walked only one.
“Tonight was another Taylor Thompson gem. He was in command of all his pitches. He had 16 strikeouts and one walk. When you get a performance like that and get a few runs, you are going to win,” praised Carson.
Cleveland took the lead on a Hunter Oliver RBI single in the bottom of the first and never looked back.
McMinn County tied the score in the top of the third with a single and double but gave the lead right back in the bottom of the frame. Thompson drew a walk and later scored on a sacrifice fly by David Queen.
After Thompson fanned the side in the upper half of the fifth, the Raiders made it a 3-1 game when Oliver walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
Cleveland added an insurance run in the sixth after Parker Carson doubled deep to left field and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Thompson.
Thompson claimed his 15th and 16th strikeouts in the seventh and got a ground ball to short to close out the win for Cleveland.
“The hits came at the right time. There were a couple of spots they helped us out. I’ve always said in this district, on any given night, anybody can beat anybody,” said Carson.