Behind a strong outing from starter, Thomas Sertic that kept the Damonte bats silent until the fifth inning, Reed (5-2, 1-1) got its offense back on track as it took a 6-3 victory over the Mustangs in the Division I North tilt.
“It was great to see us get our bats going because after getting just one hit, we knew they had a couple other pitchers to go to,” Reed coach John Phenix said. “We’ve faced them before, but they were more patient today. When they one-hit us before, I just think we got too anxious at first and then all of a sudden got too complacent. Today, they were looking for pitches in certain spots. They let the ball get in on them a little bit and tried to go the opposite way. There was just a little more concentration at the plate.”
With Sertic holding the Mustangs scoreless through four, Reed took advantage, starting in the top of the second inning.
After a three-up, three-down inning began the game for the Raiders, Mark Nowaczewski and Tyler Starley got things going with a pair of singles to lead off the second. The runners then made their way to second and third before a passed ball gave Nowaczewski a free path to home plate for the game’s first run. Jonathon Pinto then brought Starley home from third to give RHS a 2-0 lead.
Reed went back to work in the fourth, loading the bases to start the top of the frame. After a pop out left the Mustangs one out from getting out of the jam, Alec Leighton sent Casey Higgins home with a single to push the Reed advantage to 3-0.
Damonte got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth with a home run from Matt Gover, cutting the deficit to 3-1. The Raiders responded with their own solo shot in the top of the sixth as Leighton went deep to left field to push the margin back to three at 4-1.
The Mustangs sparked a mini-rally in the bottom of the sixth as their first three batters recorded a hit to score a pair of runs.
Nate Nolan led the inning off with a single that ended the day for Sertic. Reed’s Chris Flores then came to the mound, but Damonte got to the reliever before he could settle in.
Andy Calingaert ripped on 0-1 offering into the left-center field gap for an RBI double. Kyle Bailey then sent Calingaert home with a single, leaving DRHS within a run of tying the contest at 4-3. Fortunately for the Raiders, Damonte was unable to inflict any more damage in the inning as Flores retired the next three batters, stranding a runner at third.
Not wanting to leave the door open for a Mustangs’ walk-off, Reed added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh to cushion its lead.
Nowaczewski led the top of the frame off with a rocket that bounced over the left field wall for a ground-rule double. Starley then stepped into the batter’s box and sent an RBI double to the warning track in right-center field. After a pair of Raiders were retired, Dylan Miller hit a ground ball just inside the third-base line and under the outstretched glove of the Damonte third baseman to bring Starley home for a 6-3 edge.
“I think we got some real clutch hitting after they came back to cut it to one,” Phenix said. “We came up and scored two and I think that was the big key of the game for us.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Flores sealed the victory, but not before adding a little dramatics to end the game. After the first two batters of the inning recorded outs, Justin Bridgman singled before Nolan doubled to leave runners in scoring position and the tying run in the box, but a fly ball to right field ended the game.
Sertic notched the win going five innings with two earned runs on six hits while tossing four strikeouts against no walks. Flores earned the save with two innings pitched, allowing one earned run. He gave up four hits, struck out two and had no walks.
“He was awesome. He was absolutely awesome for his first outing,” Phenix said of Sertic’s performance. “He put us in a good spot and then Flores came in and closed the deal. That’s what we want.”
At the dish, Nowaczewski led the way with a 3-for-3 day and two runs. Leighton went 2-for-3 with a single and homer to account for two RBI, while Starley was also 2-for-3 from the plate with a double and single with two runs.
Reed is set to visit McQueen Saturday at 11 a.m.