The four pitchers to toe the rubber combined to strike out 38 batters as it took four extra innings before District 5-AAA newcomer East Hamilton was able to pull out a 2-0 victory over the host Cleveland High squad.
“This is a great pitchers’ duel,” declared Raider assistant coach David Altopp on several occasions throughout the better than three-hour battle. “You’re not going to see any better pitching than this anywhere around.”
“(Taylor) Thompson gives us a quality start every time he goes out, but this was tremendous tonight,” echoed Cleveland head coach Ted Carson after the contest. “Give the East Hamilton pitchers credit. They kept us off stride all night.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ll pick back up and battle again tomorrow,” the Raider mentor said of this evening’s game at the Chattanooga State facilities to wrap up the home-and-home series. First pitch for the Hurricanes (8-5, 3-2 District 5-AAA) and Raiders (4-11, 1-4) is slated for 6 p.m.
Of the four hurlers in the contest, Thompson had the most impressive pitching line, going nine full innings, striking out 14, walking just one, allowing three hits and zero runs.
East Hamilton starter Matty Henshaw was equally as tough, with 11 K’s in seven trips to the hill, also handing out just one base on balls and no runs, while giving up the only two Raider hits on the night.
Freshman Nicholas Woods fired the final four frames for the visitors, picking up the pitching victory by not allowing a hit and striking out nine of the 13 batters he faced. After getting the first 10 Raiders out, Woods’ only flaw came from a one-out walk to Derek Nichols in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Sophomore Chantz Placek came on for the final two frames for Cleveland, and even though he took the loss, the lefty struck out four, walked just one, allowed a pair of hits and just one earned run.
The game’s only scoring came in the top of the 11th when Hurricane leadoff man Matt Milita dropped down a bunt to start the frame and a throwing error allowed him to advance to second base on the play. Hunter Parker then placed a perfect slow roller just inside the third base line for a bunt single, moving Milita to third.
After Placek K’d the next batter, Woods stepped to the plate and roped his third double of the contest to plate both of the East Hamilton runs.
Coming off a 13-6 victory Saturday over a Greater Gwinnett (Ga.) home school team, Cleveland managed just four base runners Monday with Nichols drawing a pair of free passes — one in the third and the other in the 11th.
The two Raider hits came when Austin Dykes led off the fourth with a solid single up the middle and advanced to third on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly before being stranded. Clint Clayton led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to center but Henshaw left him standing on first as he K’d the next three batters.
“We had way too many strikeouts (20). We’ve got to be able to string together two or three hits to get some runs. We hit some very hard shots, but they went right at them (the Hurricane defense),” proclaimed Coach Carson.
East Hamilton 000 000 000 02 — 2 5 0
Cleveland 000 000 000 00 — 0 2 2
WP: Nicholas Woods 4 IP, 9 K’s, 1 BB, 0 hits, 0 ER; LP: Chantz Placek 2 IP, 4 K’s, 1 BB, 2 hits, 1 ER. 2B: Nicholas Woods 3 (EH); RBI: Woods 2 (EH). Highlights: Woods 3-5, 3 2B, 2 RBIs; Matty Henshaw 7 IP, 11 K’s, 1 BB, 2 hits, 0 ER (EH); Taylor Thompson 9 IP, 14 K’s, 1 BB, 3 hits, 0 ER; Austin Dykes 1-4; Clint Clayton 1-3 (C). Records: East Hamilton 8-5, 3-2 District 5-AAA; Cleveland 4-11, 1-4 District 5-AAA.