CHESHIRE, Ohio — In both close — and not so-close — fashion, the River Valley High School baseball team swept a non-league season-opening doubleheader against the visiting Eastern Brown Warriors on Saturday.
In the opener, the Raiders broke a 1-1 tie with a five-run fifth inning en route to an 8-7 victory.
In the nightcap, River Valley allowed Eastern Brown’s only run to lead off the game, then scored the final 11 runs to prevail 11-1 in five innings.
The second contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule.
In the first affair, the Raiders erupted with seven runs in the fifth on the strength of four hits and five walks for an 8-1 lead.
Devin McDonald and Austin Ragan reached on leadoff walks in the inning, then Brycen Brumfield doubled in McDonald, followed by Bailey Rhodes singling in Ragan and Brumfield.
Lannis Gilbert’s single and Dillon Ragan’s RBI-single accounted for the other two hits in the fifth.
Speaking of Dillon Ragan, he pitched the first five-and-a-third innings and earned the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Of the 75 total pitches he threw, two-thirds of them (51) went for strikes.
However, the Warriors scored twice in the sixth to trim the deficit to 8-3, followed by their four-run three-hit two-out seventh stanza that actually featured the bases loaded.
Frost’s two-run single, following a single and three consecutive walks allowed by Austin Ragan, made it 8-7.
After Ragan walked the bases loaded, he struck out the final Warrior to secure the save.
Ragan relieved Brumfield, who gave up two earned runs on four hits.
Brumfield gave up back-to-back RBI-doubles in the sixth to make it 8-3.
Eastern Brown outhit the Raiders in game one 11-9, as the Raiders left 11 runners on base compared to seven for Eastern Brown.
Dillon Ragan led the Raiders at the plate as well, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Jamie Bainter’s single in the first, McDonald’s double in the second and Justin Sizemore’s single in the fourth were the only other Raider hits.
River Valley scored its opening-inning run when Dillon Ragan singled, Sizemore walked and Bainter singled to load the bases, then Brumfield was walked in with two outs.
In the second game, the Raiders erased the 1-0 deficit with two runs in the first, one in the third, five in the fourth and three in the fifth to enforce the mercy rule.
Austin Ragan racked up the win on the mound, allowing an earned run on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
He retired six Warriors in a row in the first and second stanzas, and gave up two hits in the fifth before working out of a bases-loaded jam.
Bainter went 3-for-4 in the second game, tripling in the third inning and doubling in the fifth — while driving in and scoring a pair of runs.
Gilbert went 2-for-3 with two singles, as Dillon Ragan scored three runs and had a two-run single in the fourth.
Sizemore, McDonald, Rhodes and Austin Ragan recorded the other four hits, as McDonald had two RBI and Rhodes one.
Dustin Barber walked three times and scored twice, while Brumfield and Dillon Ragan walked two times each.
The Raiders traveled to Oak Hill on Monday for another non-league tilt, and return to the road today at country rival Gallia Academy.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106