HILLSBORO, Mo. — Going into Thursday, Three Rivers had played two games this season while Jefferson had played 10. It showed. With weather consistently keeping the Raiders from both playing and practicing on their field, they suffered from early season problems and were swept Jefferson 6-2 in the opener and 8-0 in seven innings the nightcap. "The third and fourth games of the year, it has been a struggle for us to get on the field," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said. "We just had a lot of symptoms of not being on the field much. Defensively, pitchers throwing to live hitters, it is a tough situation but it is the situation we are in." In the opener, Burkey highlighted a pair of examples of Three Rivers needing work. Down 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Jefferson had the bases loaded with one out when the Vikings grounded into a potential double play. Three Rivers got the first out, but the throw to first was bounced, then bobbled, allowing a run to score. And then Jefferson added one more run before Three Rivers got out of the inning. Then in the top of the seventh the Raiders got two singles to start the inning. Leadoff hitter Jared Moses tried to advance the runners over, but he lined into a 4-6 double play to kill the rally. Three Rivers had eight hits and left eight on base, at least one in six different innings. "I think our guys are smart enough to see the big picture and where we are at in our season. We just need to get on the field and get to work," Burkey said. River Hunt started and pitched four innings in the loss. He gave up seven hits and five walks with four strikeouts. In the nightcap, the Raiders committed eight errors as Jefferson scored four unearned runs. "Little things like that showed up pretty big," Burkey said. "Jefferson is a good program, good team and we need to cash in on opportunities like that." Three Rivers starter Shelby Quiggins held Jefferson scoreless and hitless through three innings, but the Raiders committed four errors in the fourth inning. Jefferson scored three runs in the process, one of them earned. Quiggins finished the inning before being relieved and allowed three hits and four walks with two strikeouts. "If he's further along endurance wise and able to go a strong five or six, it changes the outlook on the game a lot," Burkey said. "Typically, you don't want to put a strain on the pitchers at this point in the year." Burkey used four pitchers in each game with each starter going four innings and the relievers not pitching more than one inning each.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic