KINGSPORT — On Wednesday Sullivan North got to play in the sunshine and glimpsed a ray of hope.
Seth Maxwell led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a clutch single, got to second on a Nick Copas bunt and scored on a throwing error to lift the Raiders to a 5-4 win over visiting Johnson County.
The Three Rivers Conference victory was a tonic for North (4-14, 2-8), which retains a fighting spirit belying its lean record.
Maxwell had seen the Longhorns (6-6, 3-6) get two runners on in the top of the seventh only to witness lead runner Payton Fennel gunned down by North catcher Jonathan Green on an attempt to steal third.
The North speedster didn't throw caution to the wind and try to stretch to stretch his single into a double.
But it definitely occurred to him.
"I was looking to bunt but I noticed they were playing up a little bit. The bat before that I took a first-pitch curve ball and sent it down the right field line. I figured I might as well try to do that again," said Maxwell, who tied the game up at 4 with his two-RBI double in the fourth inning,
When the signal came, Maxwell ready to roll. He was well past the halfway mark to second when Copas laid down his sacrifice. There was little doubt of the lead runner's objective.
Copas beat the throw to first, but first baseman Logan Sargent thought his throw could beat Maxwell to third.
The left-handed Maxwell (2-4) went the distance for the win. He struck out seven while keeping the Raiders in the game.
It was a tough loss for Johnson County's Sam Thomas (3-3), a right-handed bruiser who aided his own cause by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a solo home run in the third inning.
Gavin Rupe had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for Sullivan North.
For an expanded version of this story, see Thursday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.
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