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Spartans win wild one over Raiders, take district title

Kevin Mays • May 7, 2019 at 1:21 AM

NORTON — Over the first seven innings of Monday’s Cumberland District baseball game, Eastside and J.I. Burton combined for four runs and seven hits.

Three innings later, the teams had a combined 21 runs and 23 hits. Eastside eventually came away with an 11-10, 10-inning win at Lawson-Fitchko Stadium.

“It was a crazy game,” Eastside coach Chris Clay said.

Austin Rittenberry threw the first seven innings for the Spartans. He gave up two runs on three hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.

Burton’s lone senior, Derrick Allen, countered by allowing just two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out 13 over his seven innings of work.

FLOODGATES OPEN

With the game tied at 2 and headed to the extra innings, both offenses came to life.

Eastside (10-8, 9-0) scored two runs in the eighth and Burton (7-10, 5-5) countered with two in the bottom half to send the game to the ninth tied at 4.

Again Eastside scored two runs. And again, Burton added two runs in the bottom half.

The teams went to the 10th inning knotted at 6.

DRAMATIC FINISH

After the Spartans scored five times in the top of the 10th, it appeared they’d put away the game.

Not so fast.

Burton scored four runs in the bottom of the 10th and had the bases loaded when a wild pitch rolled to the backstop. Tanner Branham broke for home but then went back toward third before turning around and running for home after the ball got past Eastside pitcher Nick Livingston and rolled toward the infield.

Rittenberry, now playing first base, picked up the errant throw and threw out Branham to end it.

“Those guys have improved a ton,” Clay said of the Raiders. “For them to push us like that. It’s only been four or five weeks ago we saw them and they didn’t have much for us. And then tonight, pitch for pitch they hung right with us. I’m pretty impressed.”

Burton coach Jacob Caudill considered the game a step in the right direction.

“I told the guys tonight, there are no more moral victories,” he said. “I like the way we fought tonight, I like the way we battled back and stayed with it.”

MORE FOR THE TROPHY CASE

The win gave Eastside its eighth Cumberland regular-season championship.

The Spartans are 80-1 against district opponents and have not lost a league game since 2014. They’ve captured every district baseball championship since the school opened.

IN THE BOOKS

Eastside used four pitchers. Rittenberry re- entered the game in the ninth to pick up the win. Livingston recorded the save.

Aki Godsey suffered the loss in relief of Allen.

Eastside’s Peyton Pope went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Livingston finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and four runs scored. Stansberry went 2-for-6 and drove in a run.

Allen finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Jonah Cochrane was 3-for-6 with three RBIs and Tyler Spriggs went 2-for-6 with three RBIs. The Raiders also got a 2-for-5 performance from Jaymen Buchanan.

UP NEXT

Eastside finishes out its regular season Tuesday and Wednesday with games at Castlewood and Honaker. The Spartans open district tournament play with a semifinal matchup May 14 at home.

Burton closed the regular season Monday. The Raiders will host Rye Cove Friday in the opening round of the tournament.

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