CHESHIRE, Ohio — Although the Raiders definitely earned it, River Valley’s victory over visiting Vinton County on Monday was — in a way — free.
That’s because the Raiders took advantage of some late free passes, and rallied for two runs in their final at-bat in the eighth inning, squeezing by the Vikings 10-9 in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division baseball bout.
Trailing 9-8, the Raiders took advantage of two walks — with one intentional — and two hit batsmen to set up Devin McDonald’s no-out walk-off single that broke a 9-9 tie.
Dustin Barber drew a leadoff walk off VCHS pitcher Austin Ward, who was then relieved in favor of Harper — after throwing 131 pitches and allowing nine earned runs.
Dillon Ragan and Jamie Bainter were both hit by Harper pitches, sandwiched around an intentional walk to Justin Sizemore.
Bainter, by being hit, scored Barber — and McDonald drove in Ragan for his fourth and final run batted in to give the Raiders the extra-inning win.
With the victory, the Raiders gained a season split with Vinton County, as the Vikings defeated the Raiders 9-8 at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe on April 15.
The Raiders raised their records to 9-12 and 3-8 in the TVC-Ohio, while the Vikings fell to 2-20 — and 2-9 in the league.
The decision made a pitching winner out of Austin Ragan, who worked the final five innings in relief of Ian Polcyn.
Ragan allowed five runs on nine hits and one walk, while Polcyn pitched the first three — and gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Ward, in pitching into the eighth for Vinton County, scattered a dozen hits and five walks while striking out nine.
All 19 runs in the game were earned, as neither squad committed an error — despite the 27 total hits and multiple free passes.
Vinton County — which outhit River Valley 15-12 — scored twice in the first and third, before the Raiders forged a 4-4 tie after three.
After George Williams walked and Barber was hit by a pitch to lead off, Dillon Ragan roped a two-run double to cut the deficit in half.
Sizemore then singled, as he and Ragan both scored on McDonald’s two-run single.
The Vikings then scored once in the fourth and twice in the fifth for a 7-4 lead, as the two clubs then exchanged single points — maintaining the three-run margin at 8-5.
The Raiders then crossed twice in the sixth and once in the seventh for an 8-8 tie, as Brycen Brumfield doubled with one out in the seventh and later scored.
The Vikings, on three hits and a walk in the eighth, went ahead 9-8 — but couldn’t close the deal as Ward faced only one batter in the bottom half.
McDonald, who plated Bainter in the fifth with an RBI-double after Bainter was hit by a pitch, and Brumfield both had three hits apiece for the Raiders.
Brumfield singled in the third and fifth, as Sizemore and Dillon Ragan rapped out two hits apiece, including a double by Ragan in the fourth and a triple by Sizemore in the sixth.
Austin Ragan, with a second-inning single, rounded out the Raiders’ 12 hits.
Barber walked three times and scored a game-high three runs.
The Raiders returned to the road, and concluded TVC-Ohio Division action, on Tuesday at Alexander.
Today’s non-league game against Gallia Academy is cancelled, with the Blue Devils having to make up an Ohio Valley Conference clash at Rock Hill.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106