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Spartans rally past Raiders for Cumberland tourney title

Darrell Ely, Sports Correspondent • May 22, 2018 at 1:03 AM

COEBURN — Eastside’s dominance of Cumberland District baseball continued Monday.

The Spartans overcame an early three-run deficit to claim the Cumberland tournament title, 4-3 over J.I. Burton at Tracy Stallard Field.

Eastside, also the regular-season champion, scored three times in the fifth inning to tie the game before Dakota Moore’s two-out RBI single in the sixth plated courtesy runner Nick Raymond for what proved to be the game-winning run.

In a game that began Thursday but was halted because of rain, the Raiders held a 3-0 lead after an inning and a half of play. The big blow came when catcher Derrick Allen lined a two-run double for the three-run lead, but that wound up being Thursday’s final at-bat after Allen was thrown out trying to stretch his extra-base hit into a triple.

“We got down three there in the first and it felt like it took us four days to get out of that hole,” said a jovial Chris Clay.

Eastside’s skipper also sang the praises of reliever Noah Rasnick, who shut down a Raiders scoring threat with a strikeout and a flyout to work out of a first-and-third, one-out situation.

“Noah made two great pitches in a row; (you have) got to get a strikeout there and he did,” Clay said of his right-hander’s strikeout of Burton 3-hole hitter Corey Mullins.

Rasnick’s pitching performance seemed to energize the offense for Eastside, which saw of five of its first six hitters in the sixth come through with singles. Moore’s hit scored Thomas Salyers before Cole Harness and Adam Ketron each lined RBI singles to tie the game.

The three runs derailed what had been a solid effort by Burton hurler Brady Winebarger, who stranded five baserunners over the first four frames. Winebarger benefited from his defense, especially center fielder Jonah Cochran, who recorded six putouts over the first four frames.

Once the game was tied, Rasnick bore down on the mound and retired the final eight batters he faced, four via strikeout. He tossed three scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts.

Rasnick, who started the game at catcher, also went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored. Peyton Pope also had two hits for the Spartans, who had 11 in total.

Andrew Cavins and Derrick Allen had two hits each to lead Burton.

Both teams qualified for Regional 1D tournament, which is scheduled to begin later this week.

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