NEOSHO, Mo. — Three Rivers baseball saw its season come to an end against No. 14 Crowder after a two-game sweep in the Region XVI sub-regional.
On Saturday, the offense started rolling and brought the Raiders (23-29-1) within a run on two different occasions, but they ran out of time in a 10-9 loss. The fifth and sixth innings were the downfall of the Raiders on Sunday. The Roughriders (43-13) scored seven runs in the two innings on the way to an 8-4 loss.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys competed," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said. "We just ran out of time. Most times, when you get 14 hits and score nine runs you have a really good chance of coming out on top."
Crowder started strong with four runs in the first inning thanks to three RBI singles and a sacrifice grounder. Three Rivers didn't score for the first four innings.
John Rodriguez broke the cold spell with a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to steal some momentum going forward. Crowder cushioned its lead by a run in the bottom of the inning to up 6-2, and both teams scored matched a run in the sixth, trading solo home runs.
"After being down 5-0 and John hit the two-run homer in the fifth, our guys really played with a lot of courage," Burkey said. "Austin (Williams) settled in and pitched well after giving up a couple of two-strike hits in the first that accounted for runs."
Williams finished his six-inning start with eight strikeouts, allowing 10 hits, seven runs, six earned, and walking one. Elvin Diaz came in and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and walking one. Nash Winters pitched 1/3 of an inning and allowed two hits and two runs, walking one.
Crowder again matched Three Rivers with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, and the lead was right back up to four.
Campbell tried to spark another comeback in the eighth, connecting on an RBI single that scored Rodriguez and moved Reading to third. Reading and Campbell both scored on wild pitches, trimming the deficit back to a run.
Three Rivers responded on defense with a quick three outs, holding the hosts scoreless after allowing runs in three straight innings. With the game on the line, Crowder's defense pulled off a 1-2-3 inning after allowing after allowing all nine runs in the span of four innings, sealing a win.
"This game showed what a fine line there is sometimes in winning and losing," Burkey said.
On Sunday, Crowder broke a one-all tie in the fourth with the help of a pair of walks and an error. Michael Chrisman finished the scoring with an RBI double.
After holding the Raiders scoreless in the bottom of the side, the Roughriders went back to work, adding four more runs to the board. With two on and two out in the sixth, Crowder scored two runs courtesy of an error at shortstop. Coltin Nix drove in a pair of runs with a double for an eight-run lead.
Rodriguez tried to spark a rally with a two-run homer that scored Roberto Mejia in the seventh. Back-to-back doubles from Reading and Fakouri put another run across the plate for Three Rivers. Campbell flew out to center to end the inning. Both teams went scoreless over the final two innings as Crowder secured the win and ended Three Rivers' season.
Nate Fields - Daily American Republic