ST. LOUIS — Both Raiders games came down to the final pitch Saturday. Three Rivers was on the wrong end in the opener, losing 5-4, but held on in the nightcap to win 6-4 and split with St. Louis in a pair of nine-inning games. With the split, St. Louis took 3 of 4 in the season series. "We're seeing a high percentage of quality at bats in those situations," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said. "We need to try to continue to get more consistent and take care of the ball." Ryan Hunter had a home run in the top of the fifth inning in the opener that put the Raiders (18-22, 8-19 Region XVI) ahead 4-0. However, they managed two hits the rest of the way as St. Louis forced extra innings. The Archers (23-23, 13- 17) scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth and in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and a 2-2 count, clean-up hitter Jack Kane came through with an RBI double. Three Rivers' only base runner in extra innings was a walk in the ninth, which ended on a 1-6-3 double play. In the bottom frame, Anthony Rask had a walk-off single against Raider relief pitcher Parker Dent (3-2), who pitched the ninth and suffered the loss. River Hunt started and pitched 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and two walks with five strikeouts. William Stallings and Hunter each had three of the team's seven hits. The Raiders bounced back from the tough loss with five runs in the first inning of the nightcap. Drew Evans hit the first pitch of the game over the fence in right, and the next four Raiders all reached base. Stallings had a two-run triple and later scored on an error, and Grant Miller added an RBI single. "It certainly showed a lot of fight as far as coming back after a tough blow in the first game," Burkey said. "We are going to have to expect every game to be a tight game and play it pitch by pitch." Evans tripled in the fourth and Hunter drove him in with a sacrifice fly, putting the Raiders ahead 6-3. Rask had a solo home run in the seventh with one out and Kane was hit by a pitch, bringing the tying run to the plate. This time though, the bullpen was up to the task and Cameron Johnson struck out the next two batters. Shelby Quiggins (4-3) got the win. He pitched six innings and struck out two with two walks, a hit batter and four hits against. "Great pitching by Shelby Quiggins," Burkey said. Quiggins retired the side in the first inning and struck out three of the first four batters he faced. Six of the Raiders' first seven outs were strikeouts. Hunter was 1 for 1 with a run and an RBI. He walked twice, and with his sacrifice fly, gave the Raiders seven productive at bats in the doubleheader. He also had a diving catch in an all-around performance. "Hunter had a really good day," Burkey said. Hunter has a .346 batting average, a .470 on-base percentage, a .577 slugging percentage, and four home runs and leads the team in each category. The Raiders have one region series left on the schedule, against Mineral Area next week. If they sweep the Cardinals and North Central (11-29, 8-20 Region XVI) sweeps St. Louis, the Raiders would climb to fifth place in the tightly packed region standings.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic