Raiders fall to Buckeyes

By Paul Boggs -

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The River Valley High School baseball team’s bid for a season sweep of the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes went down swinging in the sixth inning.

That’s because the Buckeyes, buoyed by three runs in the frame, broke a 1-1 tie en route to handing the Raiders a 4-1 loss on Wednesday at Blackburn Field in Nelsonville.

The Raiders scored the game’s opening run in their initial at-bat, but the Buckeyes quickly tied things on their first turn — then reeled off the final three runs in the sixth.

The loss, which was River Valley’s third consecutive, dropped the Raiders to 8-11 — and to 2-7 in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division.

One of the Raiders’ two league wins was against Nelsonville-York — a 4-2 decision two weeks ago.

The Buckeyes boosted their records to 6-11 overall and 2-9 in the league.

River Valley scored first when Dillon Ragan singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Jamie Bainter.

But the Raiders ran into a buzz-saw in the form of Nelsonville-York freshman pitcher Reece Robson, who tossed a complete-game four-hitter.

Robson, despite also walking four Raiders, struck out seven.

The only other Raider hits were infield singles, one by Austin Ragan and another by Bainter in the sixth.

With the game tied 1-1, Bainter stole second after his hit — and advanced to third on an error with no outs.

After a strikeout, Ragan hit a ground ball with Bainter breaking for home.

However, N-Y’s D.J. Hopkins fielded the grounder and threw to catcher Tyler Smith, who tagged a sliding Bainter before his foot found the plate.

After a walk, Robson escaped the jam by picking the Raider runner off first to end the inning.

In the Buckeye sixth, and after Ian Polcyn pitched into the frame for River Valley, he was relieved after back-to-back leadoff walks to Hunter Dobbs and Ted Campbell.

Austin Ragan relieved Polcyn, and Smith’s bunt in which the Raiders didn’t cover first resulted in the bases load.

Shakim Williams’ RBI-grounder scored Dobbs, then Hopkins hit a two-run single to cross Campbell for the 2-1 lead.

Polcyn pitched the first five full innings for River Valley, and was charged with three earned runs on five hits and three walks.

Ragan’s run allowed was earned on two hits.

In the seventh, Robson walked two Raiders, but pitched around the free passes to secure the win.

The Buckeyes answered the Raiders’ run in the first — when Jacob Chaffin doubled to center before Robson singled for runners on the corners.

Dobbs’ deep fly ball to center was chased down by Justin Sizemore, but Chaffin scored on the sacrifice fly.

The Raiders return to the road, and return to TVC-Ohio action, today at Wellston.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs