As the District 5-AAA regular season winds down, the Cleveland Blue Raiders are winding up in preparation for next week’s tournament, beginning Wednesday at Ooltewah.
Tuesday at Raider Field, Taylor Thompson struck out 10 Trojans to help lead Cleveland to a 6-1 win over Soddy-Daisy.
“It was a great performance by Taylor Thompson. Most of the time it all starts on the mound and Taylor gives you a chance every time,” said Blue Raiders coach Ted Carson.
The Cleveland senior held Soddy scoreless for six innings before giving up a single run in the top of the seventh inning. Thompson held the Trojans (14-14, 8-4 District 5-AAA) to only three hits on the night.
After two scoreless innings, Cleveland (9-16, 5-7) got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Derek Nichols worked losing pitcher Ryan Mahaffey for a walk. With two outs, Jay McIntire singled and Austin Dykes followed with a walk to load the bases. A single to center off the bat of Hunter Oliver scored Nichols and McIntire.
The Raiders added three more runs in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.
Nichols and Parker Carson started it off with walks and Dykes worked Mahaffey for the third free pass of the inning. Oliver got his third RBI with a single to left. David Queen lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center and Thompson helped his own cause,putting the Raiders up by five with an RBI single to center.
Cleveland tacked on one more run in the lower portion of the sixth on a walk and mishandled fly ball to left.
Thompson struggled a bit in the seventh giving up a single and walk, prompting a visit to the hill by Carson to let the Raiders’ ace catch his breath.
“Taylor got a little tired at the end a little bit. It was a pretty humid night, and he sweated a lot not, being used to it; but he did a real good job finishing,” Carson said.
“I was just giving him a little rest. I knew he wanted to finish it, and he wanted the ball.”
The Trojans loaded the bases with one out and broke up the shutout before Thompson and the Raiders slammed the door on the win.
“We got some timely hits. We had patience and got a few walks and it came around for us,” Carson said of the job done at the plate.
“We still need to do a little better job of hitting and going with the pitch. We did a better job tonight than we have been. Last night (Monday) we left 13 on base. If we had a couple of those hits last night that we had tonight, we maybe would have been in the game a little bit more. That’s what we’ve been lacking. Hopefully we can keep that up.”
BLUE RAIDERS 6, TROJANS 1
Soddy-Daisy 000 000 1 — 1 3 2
Cleveland 002 031 x — 6 5 0
WP: Taylor Thompson 10 Ks. LP: Ryan Mahaffey 9 Ks.
Highlights: Hunter Oliver 2-3 3 RBI, Jay McIntire 2-3 (C). Records: Soddy-Daisy 14-14, 8-4 5-AAA; Cleveland 10-15, 5-7.