Miranda H. Lewis
Carter County Times
A great season ended in disappointing fashion for the East Carter Raiders at the Joe Stacy Memorial Complex in Morgan County on Tuesday evening.
It didn’t take long into the 16th Regional Tournament Championship game with Raceland to get a sense that it just wasn’t going to be the Raiders’ night.
The Rams scored at least a run in all but one inning while it was a very frustrating outing offensively for the Raiders, where missed opportunities proved to be costly.
From the very start there were ominous signs for East Carter thanks to the ability of Raceland hitters to put the ball into play.
The result was a 10-4 Raceland victory.
The Regional Tournament is not new territory for the Raiders, who have made the tournament the past five seasons.
However, it was the first time they have made it to the finale during their post-season run.
The game was the final one for three seniors – Harley Bowen, Samuel Hamilton, and Connor Skaggs.
Brayden Webb kept the Raider hitters off-balance, as East Carter found themselves in an early hole.
The Rams got on the board early via an error off the bat of Eli Lynd that scored Parker Fannin in the bottom of the first.
Raceland added two more runs in the bottom of the second thanks to a fielder’s choice bunt from Webb and a single from Connor Thacker.
Skaggs avoided any further damage in the frame by catching a straight-line drive to send the teams into the third inning.
Webb promptly squelched any notion of a Raider rally with a 1-2-3 inning at the top of the third stanza.
Leadoff batter Kadin Shore crushed a stand up double to get things going in the bottom of the third. Shore would come home a batter later on Jeremy Kerns’s sacrifice fly for a quick 4-0 Ram advantage.
Raceland loaded the bases with two outs as they continued to fire on all cylinders.
A double from Connor Hughes plated Parker Ison and Thacker en route to a six point lead.
Fannin belted out a hard hit and would be Raceland’s third out, but not before driving in the Ram’s seventh run of the event.
The Raiders were finally able to break the shutout in the top of the fourth courtesy of a stand up double by Ty Scott who would go on to score due to a Ram miscue at third base.
Relief pitcher Tate Scott was effective on the mound. He handed Raceland their first scoreless inning in the bottom of the fourth.
An error at the top of the fifth frame allowed Levi Hutchinson to touch home cutting Raceland’s lead to 7-2.
The Raiders third out via a fly ball to center field on the next at bat would keep East Carter from chipping away any further at the score.
Meanwhile, Raceland was much more opportunistic, posting three insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Trailing 10-2, the Raiders were able to string enough hits together to load the bases at the top of the sixth frame.
Although the scoring opportunities were there, East Carter would only plate one run.
A fielder’s choice by Gavin Sexton brought the score to 10-3.
The Raiders would not go down without a fight though, in the seventh inning an RBI single to center field by Andrew Tomolonis plated the Raiders fourth and final run of the affair to cut the deficit to 10-4.
Hutchinson paced East Carter with a 1-for-2 effort at the plate, one walk, one stolen base, and two runs scored.
Ty Scott finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate, one double, one walk, and one run scored.
Tomolonis followed with one hit, one RBI, and one run scored.
The Rams outhit the Raiders 10-7 in the contest.
Despite the loss, East Carter has nothing to hang their heads about as the Raider squad closed its season with a staggering 28-6 record.
Looking ahead to next spring, East Carter will return a well-seasoned squad that has proven they can go toe-to-toe with the best of the 16th Region.
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