Big Third Inning Propels Cleveland Past Rhea County, 7-3

  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024
  • Joe Cannon
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — For the second straight game the third inning proved to be the deciding factor as Cleveland posted back-to-back District 5-4A victories over rhea County.

After winning 5-4 Monday, in which all nine runs were scored in the third frame, in Evensville, the Blue Raiders put up six of their runs in a 7-3 win at Bill Talley Stadium, Wednesday evening.

The game had been rained out Tuesday, the start time was upped to 5 p.m.
to beat another round of Mother Nature's moisture.

The teams will wrap up the three-game district series Thursday, back in Evensville.

Cleveland (12-9, 4-1 District 5-4A) also has a Saturday afternoon battle at Signal Mountain on tap, while Rhea County (3-12, 0-5) will entertain Sale Creek Friday.

The Raiders opened Wednesday's scoring without benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first.

Virginia Tech signee Mycah Jordan drew a walk, stole second, moved to third on a dropped third strike and then came around to score on a two-out Eagle error.

Cleveland sent 11 batters to the dish in the bottom of the third to put the game out of reach.

After senior Cutter Womack "walked the line" and moved to second on a wild pitch, classmate Jack McBrayer followed with the first Raider hit of the evening to send him home. 

Senior Andrew Wenger laid down a bunt single to put runners on the corners before his stole second. Sophomore Caden Tippens plated both runners with a hot shot just inside the third base bag for a double.

After a walk to sophomore Collin Stuart and a perfect bunt single by Evan Liner to jam the sacks, River Briggs then "took one for the team."
A moment later senior Nolan Copeland set off the "free popcorn for everyone" Raider celebration with a one-out single, before Womack drove home the final Cleveland score with a ground out.

Senior Rex Pendergrass, the Rhea stating pitcher who was chased during the third inning rally, opened the fourth with a solo blast over the left field wall.

Raider sophomore lefty Christian Lee responded by striking out five of the next half dozen Eagles he faced.

Rhea County was able to tacked on a pair of scores in the sixth frame when Kaleb Houston stroked a two-out single to plate Pendergrass and Cason Kinney, who had both walked.

Although being pulled after issuing back-to-back free passes in the sixth, Lee earned the pitching victory by going 5-1 innings, striking out 10 and allowing a trio of "freebies."

While the half dozen Raider hits were spread out among as many batters, Stuart found his way on base three times with a pair of walks to go with his single.

McBrayer and Liner both reached twice with a base on balls to go with a hit.

Pendergrass went 2-for-2, plus drew a walk and scored twice for the Eagles.

Game Summary
District 5-4A
Wednesday, April 10
at Bill Talley Stadium
Rhea County      000 102 0 — 3  3  1
Cleveland           106 000 x — 7  6  1
Pendergrass, Love (3) and Houston; Lee, McBrayer (6) and Tippens.
WP: Lee. LP: Pendergrass.
Records: Rhea County 3-13, 0-5 District 5-4A; Cleveland 12-9, 4-1 District 5-4A. 
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