A day after run-ruling North Central twice, the Raiders got swept to split the four-game series.
North Central beat Three Rivers 9-2 in the opener and 10-7 in the nightcap Saturday at Roger Pattillo Field after Three Rivers won 13-0 and 11-3 the day before.
The Raiders led 7-3 in the nightcap but had a disastrous eighth inning where they allowed seven runs.
"It was a tough game that came down to the last swing that they caught on the fence that would have tied the game if it goes over," Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said. "We did some good things throughout the game but also had some costly mistakes."
With sleet falling from the sky in the eighth inning, North Central put its first seven batters on base in the eighth inning, including back-to-back bunt singles that hugged the third base line.
Then with one out, North Central (3-8, 2-2 Region XVI) cleanup hitter Nathaniel Bentura hit a three-run home run to left-center field, putting the Pirates ahead 10-7, that Three Rivers center fielder Ty'Reik Thomas nearly caught as leapt and landed hard on the top of the fence.
Tony Rudd led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk for the Raiders, and leadoff hitter Zane Wallace followed with another walk to bring the tying run to the plate with nobody out. After a pair of pop flies to center field, Nick Fakouri hit a long fly ball to left, but it was caught at the fence.
Three Rivers also had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fifth inning, but then hit into a 3-2-3 double play and popped up to second.
Reece Reading and Thomas each scored twice in the game and Fakouri was 2 for 5 with a run. Roberto Mejia was 2 for 6 with two RBIs and Kyle Clayton had two RBIs. Wallace drew four walks and was 1 for 2 with a run.
Beau Burson (1-1) took the loss for the Raiders after taking the mound during the eighth inning in relief. Nash Winters got the start and allowed two hits and two walks over four innings with six strikeouts.
North Central also surged late in the opener with four runs in the sixth inning, and back-to-back solo home runs in the fifth inning by Kendrick Delima and Logan Eickhoff.
Three Rivers (8-5, 2-2 Region XVI) left 12 runners on base as it struggled to string hits together. Wallace, Reading, and Thomas were each stranded three times while batting first, third and sixth in the lineup. Three players hitting between them were collectively stranded once.
"Their starting pitcher was good with keeping us off balance enough where we didn't square many balls up," Burkey said.
Thomas scored in the fourth inning after singling and then scoring on Mejia's two-out single. Palmer Campbell doubled and added a run in the sixth.
Braden Cox (1-1) started and took the loss for the Raiders. He pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs, five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
"We couldn't capitalize on some early opportunities and we didn't take care of the ball later in the game," Burkey said.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic