With a new season underway, Reed is looking to make sure it avoids a repeat of 2011. It wants to get off to a fast start. It may be on track to doing just that. Opening their season with the Mike Bearman Memorial Tournament, the Raiders shut out Elko at home 7-0 Thursday evening in both schools spring openers.
“The pitchers threw pretty well today,” Reed coach Ray Charles said. “We’re still a little bit behind in pitching. I thought the kid from Elko threw pretty good. We’re just taking it game-by-game and I’m excited that we got off on the right foot.”
Reed blanked the Indians behind a strong outing from senior starting pitcher Jake Meanings who had five strikeouts in five innings of work, followed by two innings of relief from junior Chris Flores.
“I think Jake had good command,” Charles said. “He had a good little velocity going. His arm’s been a little arm-weary lately, but today he had a good little pop. I was excited to see that.”
Scoreless through the first inning and a half, the Raiders got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. Loading the bases with no outs in the second, junior Casey Higgins hit a pop fly down the left field line that was misjudged by the Elko left fielder, pushing Troy O’Connor across the plate for the first run of the game.
The Indians got two outs and were close to getting out of the inning fairly unscathed, but with runners on second and third, senior Tanner Paris hit a line drive to center field that scored Brett Chaney and Higgins for a 3-0 RHS advantage.
Two quick half-innings kept the score at 3-0 before Elko tried to generate some runs in the top of the fourth. After an error allowed the visitors’ Justin Pete to reach first base safely, a sacrifice bunt and passed ball moved the runner up to just 90 feet away from home plate. However, the Indians were unable to plate the run as O’Connor settled underneath a pop fly in right field and then cut down a tagging Pete at the dish to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Raiders again loaded the bases with no outs. After a strikeout swinging, Paris hit a sacrifice fly to right field that sent junior Drew Bryant home for a 4-0 lead. An insurance run was handed to Reed on a balk by Ridgway to put the Raiders up 5-0 heading into the fifth inning.
O’Connor showed off his arm again in the top of the fifth when Ridgway tried to stretch a single into a double but was gunned down. Two strikeouts capped the 1-2-3 inning and ended the night on a high note for Means.
The Raiders added another run in the sixth when A.J. Silva reached base on an error and then stole two bases, before scoring on a fielder’s choice.
Flores came into the game in the bottom of the sixth and made quick work of the Indians, with a three-up, three-down inning that included a pair of strikeouts. Sophomore Joey Dice scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth, pushing the Raiders’ advantage to the final 7-0 tally.
Flores then sent three straight Elko batters back to the bench in the seventh, closing the game out on a called third strike.
“We had a good approach to the game today,” Charles said. “The kids were into it. They were hustling. They were excited and that’s what I want to see, just the excitement. We’re just trying to get better. It was exciting to get on the field for our first start.”
Reed (1-0) will host two games today, facing off against Douglas at 1 p.m. and then Carson at 4 p.m.