NEOSHO, Mo. — Three Rivers' season ended in five innings. The Raiders allowed a season high 21 runs Saturday in the Region XVI Sub-Regional, losing to top-seeded Crowder 21-2. Crowder also won 11-3 on Friday to advance to the final four of the tournament. "We did some things (well) that don't show up in the scorebook," said Three Rivers coach Tyler Smith following his first season as head coach. "We were in every game this year except two or three. It's just a gradual process of getting better every day."
In both games, the eighth seeded Raiders were in good position early but suffered from big offensive innings by the Roughriders. Crowder (46-6), ranked sixth in the nation in the most recent NJCAA poll, scored eight runs in the second inning on Saturday and nine in the third. It did not score more than two runs in any other inning and finished with 14 hits. "Bad games in the postseason can't happen, and unfortunately, it did for us on Saturday," Smith said. "I think our guys took away from it that we have to get better." The eighth-seeded Raiders, who had six hits, were tied at one after the first inning. Cody Bond (2-4) pitched 1 1/3 innings in the loss and allowed three hits and six walks with three strikeouts. Five Raider pitchers combined for 14 walks.
Crowder's Kaleb Hill (8-1) pitched two innings and gave up five walks with three hits and two strikeouts. Crowder, though, did not allow an extra-base hit. Kolten Poorman and Stefan Turino scored for the Raiders (20-27). On Friday, the Raiders were ahead 3-2 after the first inning and trailed 5-3 heading into the sixth. But Crowder pulled away with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. It got three apiece against Raider relievers Lachlan Waite and Jake Uber. "We played fairly well on Friday. Had one call go the wrong way," Smith said. "We competed really well, and the second day, some stuff just didn't go our way."
Chad Donze (3-5) pitched 1 2/3 innings in the loss and allowed six hits and a walk with no strikeouts. James Hicks (9-1) pitched a complete-game win with nine strikeouts against nine hits and a walk. Cade Cancilla hit his team leading 11th home run for the Raiders. After splitting two Region XVI series with St. Louis and Metropolitan to start April, Three Rivers went 2-13 to finish the season. A freshman first baseman, Cancilla led the team with a .409 batting average and 33 RBIs. Andrew Lara had 12 doubles, and Hunter Gray had three triples to lead the team.
Donze, Sean Pruneau, and Michael White each had three wins from the mound to lead the team. White, who started one game and pitched 30 2/3 innings, had a 4.70 ERA with 14.67 strikeouts per nine innings. "We've got to be tougher. We've got to be grittier. We need the mentality that we're good enough to beat anybody, and it's more of a mentality aspect than an ability aspect," Smith said. "That's what I want to instill in the next year. "I love the class we have coming in. I think we have 7-10 local guys coming in. Just really excited about the direction moving forward."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic