CHESHIRE, Ohio — A prime example of saving your best for last.
The River Valley baseball team trailed 6-0 mid-way through the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division showdown with Athens, in Gallia County. The Raiders — who had just four hits in the first five frames — scored nine runs on 10 hits over the final two innings, taking the 9-8 walk-off victory.
Athens (7-9, 4-4 TVC Ohio) scored once in the first inning, as Brendan Sano drove in Hunter Mullins. Joseph Thomas singled home Tyler Roback in the fifth inning, pushing Athens’ lead to 2-0.
The Bulldogs added four runs on four hits and one walk in the top of the sixth, which was highlighted by a two-run, two-out double by Mullins.
River Valley began chipping away at the six-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth, as three runs crossed with one out in the inning. With two outs in the sixth, Dustin Barber doubled home Bailey Rhodes, and then scored on a single by Dillon Ragan, which cut the deficit to 6-5.
Athens gained two insurance runs in the top of the seventh, as Sano doubled home Brock Stewart, and then scored on a ground-out.
RVHS pulled within one run in the bottom of the seventh, when Brycen Brumfield tripled home K.C. Collins and Austin Ragan. Brumfield scored on a single by Bailey Rhodes, tying the game at eight, but AHS struck out the next two batters. Rhodes stole second base and was singled home by Raiders senior Dillon Ragan, capping off the 9-8 RVHS victory.
Austin Ragan earned the pitching victory for RVHS, allowing eight earned runs on 13 hits and four walks, while striking out five batters in a complete game effort.
Brody Rodgers was the losing pitcher of record for AHS, giving up two earned runs on three hits in .2 innings of relief. Cameron Kasler started on the mound for Athens and he allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks. Eli Kennedy gave up one earned run on one hit in .1 innings of relief, while Thomas allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk in .1 innings. Kasler had three strike outs in the game, Rodgers added two, while Kennedy marked one.
Brumfield was 3-for-4 with one triple, two singles, two runs scored and three RBI in the win, while Justin Sizemore was 3-for-4 with three singles, to lead the Raiders. Rhodes had two hits, two run scored and one RBI, Dillon Ragan added two hits and two RBI, while Devin McDonald had two hits for the victors. Dustin Barber doubled once, scored once and drove in one run, Austin Ragan singled once and scored twice, while Collins and Jack Farley each scored once in the win.
Sano led the Bulldogs with two hits, two runs scored and two RBI, while Mullins had two hits, one run scored and two RBI. Stewart and Trey Kliffer both marked two hits and one run scored, Kasler had one hit, one run scored and two RBI, while Roback and Waylon Bradbury each had one hit and one run scored. Thomas singled once and drove in one run in the setback, while Rodgers singled once.
The Raiders left eight runners on base in the win, while Athens stranded six.
This game serves as redemption for the Silver and Black, as the Bulldogs topped RVHS on April 1, by a 17-6 count in The Plains.
River Valley is scheduled to return to action on Friday, as the Raiders visit Alexander.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.