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Burton beats Castlewood to secure No. 2 district seed

KEVIN MAYS, [email protected] • May 5, 2018 at 7:10 PM

NORTON —  J.I. Burton used a big first inning and strong pitching down the stretch Saturday to pick up a win and clinch the second seed in next week’s Cumberland District baseball tournament.

The Raiders scored four runs in the opening frame and held off a determined Castlewood squad to win its final regular-season district game, 6-3 over the Blue Devils.

“I thought we started out real strong. Then for whatever reason, we lost interest in the game and then we came back at the end,” said Burton coach Jim Adams.

Burton (9-7, 6-4) pounded out 11 hits off the bats of nine Raiders. Derrick Allen finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and Jonah Cochrane went 2-for-3.

Allen’s first double came in the first inning. He scored the game’s first run on a single by Corey Mullins, who later scored on a fielding error to put the Raiders up 2-0.

Tyler Spriggs then delivered a one-out single to right field that scored Brady Winebarger and Aki Godsey to put Burton up 4-0.

The Raiders added another run in the second inning when Cochrane singled and came home on an RBI single from Andrew Cavins.

Castlewood coach Brian Summers said errors plagued his squad early.

“The first couple of innings we just lacked a little defense,” Summers said. “We hit the ball a lot better today. We hit with them. We just didn’t play defense like we should have.”

Castlewood put two runs on the scoreboard in the third inning. Ethan Capalidi reached on an error and scored on a single from Ethan Fields, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Nick Deboard added the second run for Castlewood after smacking a single to center field and coming home on Devin Robinson’s single. Robinson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Blue Devils (1-15, 1-8).

Castlewood has struggled this season, but Summers said his team is starting to making strides, including earning its first win of the year over Thomas Walker on Friday.

“They’re starting to come around a little bit. We’re young. We’ve got three seniors. The rest are sophomores and juniors and a couple of freshmen that start. It is what it is,” he said.

Castlewood added another run in the fifth off Winebarger, who started and pitched 4 1/3 innings. Winebarger gave up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

Cavins closed the door on the Blue Devils in relief. The senior gave up no runs and no hits while registering one walk and six strikeouts over the final 2 2/3 innings.

Giving up only one walk was key in Burton’s win, according to Adams.

“In high school baseball, if you don’t let people on with errors and you don’t walk baserunners it’s more difficult to score,” the veteran coach said.

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