Kingsport Times-News: McCurdy launches 3-run shot, Raiders rocket to win
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McCurdy launches 3-run shot, Raiders rocket to win

Kevin Mays • May 10, 2019 at 10:51 PM

NORTON — This season has been a learning one from top to bottom for J.I. Burton.

On Friday, the Raiders were successful from top to bottom in the batting order in a 19-4 rout of Rye Cove in the opening round of the Cumberland District baseball tournament.

The game at Lawson-Fitchko Stadium was called after five innings because of the 10-run rule.

Burton (9-10) advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals against Twin Springs. The teams are scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.

GOING AROUND

Burton batted around in the first two innings, scoring 14 runs on 10 hits and four errors to set the tone for the game.

“We swung the bat well,” said first-year Burton coach Caleb Caudill. “I think the pitching is there. We just have to clean up the errors and keep getting better on the infield.

“We started the season off and it wasn’t looking good. But, you know, we’ve bounced back and these kids right here, they come out here and they work every day.”

Freshman Caleb McCurdy highlighted the Raiders’ 13-hit onslaught with a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning.

The shot over the fence in left-center was the first homer of his varsity career.

“I thought it was going to drop at first,” said McCurdy, who finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs. “I just heard it the fence, but I wasn’t sure.”

On a young squad, McCurdy knew he had the opportunity to play a big role.

“It’s a good experience. I came in realizing that as a freshman I had to step up and do a lot of things. We lost a lot of people last year,” he said.

Derrick Allen, the Raiders’ only senior, finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

“Overall, we’ve all improved and we’ve bonded as a team and kind of came together because we were kind of separate at first but everybody came together and we’re playing better overall,” Allen said.

Jonah Cochrane went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Austin Jones finished 2-for-2 and drove in a run.

Aki Godsey picked up the win. Godsey threw four innings, giving up three runs on two hits, striking out five batters and walking one.

TOUGH SEASON

The game was a tough end to a tough season for Rye Cove.

“It has been a tough year for us,” said Eagles coach Michael Berry. “We started out hitting the ball well and we were getting a lot of hits and scoring a lot of runs. And then the bats just sort of struggled the rest of the way. And we struggled with pitching and fielding.

“But I’m proud of our group,” Berry said. “We could have easily given up, but they were still swinging at the end and they were making noise in the dugout.”

Rye Cove scored three runs in the fourth inning thanks to three Burton errors and a single by Hunter Shupe that scored Tyler Starnes and Chase Love.

Lucas Lane reached on an error in the fifth inning. Lane then stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly from Starnes.

Chase Bowen also scored for Rye Cove.

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