The Raiders have enjoyed warm February weather so far and Thursday night was no exception as temperatures were in the 70's when the game started. The Rams came to Raider Park Thursday, February 23 for a non-region match up.
Senior Coleman Flom started on the mound for the Raiders. To keep Flom fresh for the upcoming region schedule, Coach Santoro set a three-inning limit on Flom's appearance. Flom responded as expected with three, near-perfect, innings surrendering only one meaningless hit and no runs.
In the meantime, the Raider offense had trouble getting fully into gear against Weber's lanky southpaw, Daniel Livnat, even though the Raiders put six baserunners aboard in the first three innings. Senior John Beckley led off the bottom of the second with a single, advanced on sophomore Brett Thomas' hit, and scored on a deep sacrifice fly to center by senior catcher Erick Castro.
Flom took his scheduled exit at the end of three innings with a 1-0 lead. Senior lefty Ben Miller came on in relief and looked sharp, striking out the first two batters. The half inning looked to be over when Weber centerfielder Eli Katz launched a catchable fly to center, but the ball fell to earth without being caught. Adding to the blunder, the throw-in was mishandled and Katz ended up standing on third. Two pitches later, Jake Estroff drove in the tying run with a single. Miller doused the fire with his third strikeout in the inning; however, when the Raider offense stalled in the bottom half, the score stood at 1-1 after four complete innings.
In the top half of the fifth, Miller set his jaw and pitched with determination, striking out two of the four batters he faced. His spirited pitching raised the energy of the Raiders and lit the fuse for the restless offense that had been contained to this point in the game.
In the bottom of the fifth with the score tied at 1, the Raider offense finally detonated. Sophomore Keino Robinson reached on the shortstop's error and advanced with a steal of second. Robinson eventually reached third and stole home to put the Raiders back in front, 2-1. Extending the inning, Sophomore Allen Grier walked and stole second. Freshman Chase Engelhard followed with a walk. With two on, Senior Patrick Hope delivered a liner to the gap to drive in Grier and Engelhard. Hope stole second and Beckley reached on a hit-by-pitch. Sophomore Brett Thomas ripped a triple down the right field line to drive in Hope and Beckley.
Deep breath…at this point the Raiders led 6-1, but the inning was not over...
Senior third baseman Joseph Tobia's double drove in Thomas. Castro singled in Tobia and junior Griffin Brown followed with a hit. Fleet-footed senior Brandon Moore came in to pinch run for Castro and thrilled the crowd with a steal of home to put the Raiders up 9-1. Grier returned to the plate for the second time in the inning and again worked the count for a walk. Engelhard followed with a single and the game ended on a Patrick Hope walk-off sacrifice to deep center scoring both Grier and Engelhard. The Raiders won 11-1 in a five inning mercy rule shortened contest.
The next game is Saturday, February 25 at home vs. Galloway at 1pm. The Galloway game is the last non-region game before the Raiders open Region 6-AAAAA competition Monday, February 27 at Jackson. (view schedule)