A gutsy pitching performance from RHS starting pitcher Jake Means, one key rally and a couple late timely hits helped Reed pull out a 7-6 Northern 4A victory in prep baseball action Saturday at Wooster.
The weekend affair was a far cry from Reed’s 27-2 blowout romp at home over the Colts on Thursday.
“The other day was kind of a fluke and the score was elevated,” Reed coach Ray Charles said. “Today, I thought we had a good approach at the plate at times, and not so good at other times. Our approach is something we work on every day in practice.”
Reed scored single runs in the first and seventh to go along with five in the fourth, but in four other innings Reed failed to score.
Wooster (2-9, 0-6 Northern 4A) trailed 6-3 after five-plus innings but the Colts pulled into a 6-6 deadlock by pushing across three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Two Reed throwing errors helped the Colts’ cause, extending the WHS rally. Only two of Wooster’s three runs in the frame were earned.
So, knotted at 6-6, Reed needed another run to regain the lead and avoid a loss or extra innings. The Raiders got it in the top of the seventh. Spencer Jones led off, and with the Wooster center fielder playing in shallow, mashed a high drive that sailed over the outfielder’s head and dropped near the base of the wall, resulting in a double.
Pinch runner Tyler Starley came on for Jones and quickly scored when Casey Higgins stepped up next and laced an RBI single to right field.
“For us to come back, after they had just tied it up and really had the momentum, says something about our team. I’m proud of our guys,” Charles said.
Means did indeed make the 7-6 lead stand up, by hurling a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Wooster clean-up hitter Filiberto Castro started the Colts off with a leadoff double but that’s as good as it got for the hosts. Means retired the next three Colts, on a strikeout, groundball to first base and liner right at Higgins in right field.
Means, Reed’s steady right-hander, picked up the complete-game victory. He scattered nine Colts hits, gave up four earned runs and struck out seven without issuing a walk.
“He came over and told me he wanted to finish the game,” Charles said. “His pitch count wasn’t really what I wanted, but it was still under a 100, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was able to finish it. I was proud of him.
“He’s going to throw strikes. He’s not going to walk a lot of people. If we make plays behind him, he usually keeps us in games. That’s all you can ask from your starter.”
The Raiders jumped on top with a run in the top of the first. Ryan Butler doubled and scored after a A.J. Silva reached on a Wooster error.
The east Sparks school extended its edge to 6-0 with a five-run outburst in the fourth inning. Drew Bryant singled and Higgins came on to pinch run. After a fly out, Connor Cox singled and Butler singled to plate Higgins. Beau Tittensor followed and roped a two-run double. The scoring was capped in the inning on RBI singles by Silva and Chuck Stroberg.
Wooster was able to break through against Means in the bottom of the fourth for a trio of runs, setting the stage for the late-game drama.
Reed, which started 0-3 in league play, has evened its record in conference clashes at 3-3. The Raiders sit 7-4 overall. They will be in action again Tuesday with a single game at home against Damonte Ranch.