CHESHIRE, Ohio —Indeed, it’s not about how you start, but rather about how you finish.
The River Valley High School baseball team jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the visiting Rock Hill Redmen on Thursday, but was outscored 9-0 over the final four innings to fall 10-4 in a non-league tilt.
The contest was originally scheduled to be played at Rock Hill, but was moved to River Valley’s Cheshire Field.
The loss left the Raiders, which opened the season at 3-0, at 3-2 following back-to-back six-run losses to Ohio Valley Conference clubs Gallia Academy and Rock Hill.
The Raiders scored two runs in the opening inning, followed by single runs in the third and fourth — as the Redmen mustered a run in the second.
Sandwiched between a scoreless fourth and final frame, the Redmen scored three runs in the fifth, followed by a six-run eruption in the sixth.
The Raiders employed four pitchers — Brycen Brumfield (2 1/3 innings), Justin Sizemore (2 2/3 innings), Austin Ragan (1/3 inning) and Jack Farley (1 2/3 innings).
Unfortunately, the River Valley quartet combined to give up a dozen walks and nine hits, with all nine hits and seven walks coming in the final three stanzas.
Landon Smith pitched the opening six innings for Rock Hill, recording the win as all but 40 of his 101 pitches went for strikes.
He faced the Raider lineup three times through, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out eight.
He retired the side 1-2-3 in the fourth, then faced only four Raiders in the fifth frame.
Sean McFann retired the Raiders 1-2-3 in the seventh, including a pair of strikeouts.
River Valley was led by Sizemore, who went 3-for-4 with a fifth-inning double, and Brumfield, who went 2-for-3.
Sizemore and Jamie Bainter, who walked in the fifth following Sizemore’s double, never advanced beyond second.
Brumfield singled in the sixth and advanced to third, but Smith escaped the jam.
Lannis Gilbert drew a pair of walks for River Valley — in the second and sixth.
The Raiders opened the first on back-to-back-to-back singles by Dillon Ragan, Sizemore and Bainter — with Bainter driving in Ragan.
Devin McDonald, who singled in the third, had an RBI-groundout to score Sizemore for the early 2-0 lead.
After a Redman run, Brumfield led off the second with a single — and scored on three stolen bases.
In the third, the Silver and Black gained its largest lead at 4-1 on a Sizemore single, back-to-back stolen bases, and a Bainter RBI-groundout.
The Raiders traveled to Athens on Friday for the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division opener, which marks their second season in the TVC-Ohio.
River Valley was also scheduled to host non-league Ironton on Saturday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106