Varsity Baseball started its second 2017 Region 6-AAAAA series on Monday, March 6 hosting the Carver Panthers. The original schedule called for the Raiders to host the Monday and Friday games with the mid-week contest to be held at Carver. As the week progressed, a heavy downpour made the Carver field unplayable and the entire series ended up taking place at the new Raider Park. The Raiders claimed all three games against a young Carver team.
Game One, Monday, March 6 at Riverwood
Sophomore pitcher Brett Thomas took his turn in the Raider pitching rotation and held Carver down until the Raider offense cranked up. It took Thomas only 67 pitches to complete the game; he scattered four hits and gave up one earned run.
Offensively, Senior left-fielder Brandon Moore led off the game with another triple and scored on Freshman Chase Engelhard's sacrifice fly to left. The big blow of the game came in the third inning. After Moore and Patrick Hope both took one for the team on either side of a bases-on-balls to Engelhard, Senior John Beckley blasted the first pitch of his at bat into the night sky over the left field fence for the new park's first grand slam. In the third inning, the Raiders sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring 9 runs on hits by Hope, Joseph Tobia (who had a triple and double in the game), and Keino Robinson (his second single of the game). After this explosion, Carver could not rally in the game, nor in the rest of the series. Raiders win game one 17-2.
Game Two, Friday, March 10 at Riverwood
The first game of the Friday night doubleheader lasted only three innings as the Raiders scored early and often. Although the Panther pitcher showed promise, he struggled to control his lively fastball. A raft of baserunners scored on multiple hits by Sophomore catcher Harris Beckley, singles by Brett Thomas and centerfielder Arthur Burrell, and a triple by Patrick Hope.
Senior Pitcher Coleman Flom, however, needed little help as he faced only ten batters in the run-rule shortened game. Flom struck out six of the ten batters he faced, gave up no hits, and missed a perfect game by an eyelash on an infield error. Raiders claim the second game of the series 16-0.
Game Three, Friday, March 10 at Riverwood
With Carver struggling to regain confidence following game one of the doubleheader, Senior Mikey O'Connell took the mound for the Raiders. O'Connell had a tough act to follow after Flom's near perfect no-hitter in the first game of the evening. But, follow he did with a gem of his own.
O'Connell walked the second batter of the game and hit a batter in the fourth inning to allow the only two Panther baserunners of the game. In a dominating performance, O'Connell struck out the side in innings 1, 3, 4, and 5 and struck out 16 of the 20 batters he faced. The game's final batter had a chance to break up the no-hitter. He smoked a sinking liner to right field; however, Junior Peter Duncan, knowing what was at stake, raced to close the gap and left his feet to cover the last 10 feet of turf, diving to successfully glove the ball, record the final out, and preserve the no-hitter.
The offense, too, did its job to move the game along on a chilly night. Carver pitchers faced 37 batters who piled up 11 runs. Junior third baseman Bryan Smith and Bobby Hope crushed three doubles. Bobby Hope added a triple in the sixth inning, echoing his brother's triple in game one. Also hitting and driving in runs during the game were Sophomore shortstop Connor Sewell and Junior Christopher Bauguss, whose two hits included an exquisite bunt down the first base line. The Raiders won the second game of the doubleheader and swept the series with an 11-0 win.
Region play resumes Monday, March 13th with a three game series vs. North Springs. The Raiders travel to Sparta Monday and Friday and host the Wednesday, March 15 contest. Both teams carry big chips into this annual rivalry series for the unofficial championship of Sandy Springs. The Raiders figure to face a Spartan squad with depth, experience, and a winning record. (view schedule)