PARK HILLS, Mo. — Three Rivers ended its four-game series with Mineral Area on a high note on Tuesday.
Despite losing a close 6-5 game to start the last doubleheader of the series, the Raiders responded with an 11-10 decision to avoid getting swept in the series.
The two teams weren't separated by much throughout the series. Three Rivers lost two of its games by a run and saw a big lead evaporate during the ninth inning of the third loss.
Tuesday's second game saw Three Rivers flip the script. After trailing 10-5 through five innings, the Raiders rattled off six unanswered runs to end the series with a win. Andrew De La Cruz drove in a run to score Nick Fakouri to start the comeback in the top of the sixth.
Ty'Reik Thomas was hit by a pitch during to leadoff the seventh inning for the Raiders. He scored when Reece Reading batted into a fielder's choice four batters later. Reading scored on a wild pitch to cap a three-run seventh for the Raiders, who found themselves right back in the game.
In the eighth, Three Rivers still needed a run. Winston Welter hit a two-out, RBI double to bring home De La Cruz and knot the game at 10. Welter scored the go-ahead run after an error at shortstop kept the Cardinals from ending the inning. Mineral Area committed two errors, while Three Rivers committed one.
Needing three more outs to wrap up the win, Braden Cox forced a fly out to Thomas in center field and struck out the next two batters to finish the job. Throughout the last four innings, the defense came through in the clutch to nail down the comeback. Palmer Campbell struck out a pair as part of a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Raiders let one on with one out before forcing the Cardinals to ground into a double play to end the side. Braden Cox closed the final 1 2/3 innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Campbell didn't allow a hit, struck out three and walked two.
Three Rivers got off two a fast start in the first inning before its offense went cold. The Raiders scored three runs, but generated two over the next six innings. Mineral Area scored two runs each in the first, third and fifth innings to clinch the series win.
Three Rivers had the chance to make a comeback in the seventh. After narrowing the deficit to a run, the Raiders had runners on second and third with one out. Mineral Area's defense held with two strikeouts to end the game.
Reading went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Camerson Johnson pitched 4 1/3 innings in his start. He gave up seven hits, four earned runs and three walks, striking out four. Cox went 1 2/3 on the bump, allowing an unearned run, no hits and one walk with one strikeout.
Three Rivers will start a home and home series with Jefferson College next. The Raiders will travel to Jefferson for a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Thursday, and the two sides will play a doubleheader at home at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic