Three Rivers falls by one run again

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Out of 26 games for the Raiders, 11 have been decided by 1-run.

Three Rivers, which is 5-6 in those contests, lost 6-5 in Saturday's opener against St. Louis at Roger Pattillo Field before losing the nightcap 17-11 to split the four-game series with the Archers.

"I think that is a first, at least as long as I've been here," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said of the sheer volume of close games. "It is a good group. We've got some guys banged up and hopefully we can get some guys back healthy in the next week."

Three Rivers (13-13, 8-11 Region XVI) allowed three home runs in the opener, which scored final four of the Archers' six runs.

"They were very aggressive at the plate for sure," Burkey said. "They came out and had some big flies at the right time."

St. Louis (21-17, 12-10 Region XVI) had back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning that put the Archers ahead 5-3, then Jacob Walters hit his second home run in the game top of the seventh to take the lead.

Kody Moore scored in the third inning to give the Raiders the opening lead. He had a leadoff double and crossed the plate on Alex Heuring's single with two outs.

DK Wallace and Sam Kraus scored in the fourth to put the Raiders ahead 3-2. After a burst of Archer offense, Moore hit a leadoff single and scored, then Alex Heuring reached on a dropped third strike and later scored to tie the game at 5.

The Raider battery between pitcher Drew Dowd and catcher Baziel Cabrera struggled to connect in the first inning of the nightcap and St. Louis scored six runs off two hits. Three runs in the first inning were scored on wild pitches and a fourth scored on a fielding error.

"The rhythm between those two wasn't good," Burkey said. "It seemed like they got crossed up a couple times on signals. A couple times there, I guess the catcher set up on one side and the pitch went to the other side."

The first run of the second inning was also on a wild pitch. St. Louis tacked on two more runs after a pair of singles to lead 9-0 after two innings.

"Thursday we were really sharp. One of the best doubleheaders we've put together all year," Burkey said. "It wasn't as consistent, for sure, today."

St. Louis led 10-3 heading into the seventh inning and scored four more runs to threaten to end the game early.

With their backs against the wall, the Raiders batted around and scored six runs, cutting the lead to 14-9.

David Branch kicked off the seventh with a double, then Javier Aguilar got an RBI single and Logan Carter drilled a 2-run home run to left field.

With the bases cleared and the top of the lineup at the plate, Tito Ovalle and Moore hit back-to-back doubles and Cole Boardman followed with a triple to the gap in right-center field.

Boardman then scored on a passed ball.

"We gave them too much early and certainly showed a lot of fight and a lot of confidence with trying to play from behind," Burkey said.

Both teams tacked on more offense and more runs in the eighth inning, but the Raiders never got within five runs after spotting St. Louis six before they committed their first out.

Three Rivers finished with 15 hits for 11 runs, closely matching season highs of 16 hits and 13 runs, set in two different games.

"Most times that will get it done," Burkey said. "When you get into the fourth game of the series, pretty close days together, those things can happen. You get into bullpens and deeper into the arms."

It was the most runs Three Rivers has given up this season and the third time it has allowed double digit runs.

Three Rivers went through four pitchers in the nightcap, but the bullpen should be ready for Tuesday's 9-inning home game against Jefferson.

"We should be able to bounce back with Dylan Slayton on four days rest and Cody Wills in relief behind him," Burkey said. "We should have enough fresh arms, we just need to execute pitches."

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