The Liberty Raiders got into the PikeView bullpen and started playing like a bull in a china shop on Saturday.
The Raleigh countians scored five runs in the sixth to take the lead and returned up the Turnpike with a 7-3 win over the Panthers.
PikeView (7-5) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, the key being a two-RBI single to right by Keian Lee after Jordan Hardin and Ben Boggess had drawn walks.
Another run scored on Liberty’s only error.
Young Levi Nash kept Liberty under control through five innings on the mound, striking out nine Raiders and allowing two singles.
Nash lost his advantage in the sixth, immediately after Liberty coach J.J. Tabor had engaged in a lengthy discussion with the officiating corps between innings.
Nash threw seven straight pitches for balls, then gave up an RBI double on a 2-2 count. PikeView called upon Boggess, then Jacob Harmon, for relief pitching, but by the middle of the sixth the visitors led 6-3.
Tabor said, “It was a matter of their kid (Nash) getting tired, just starting to lose it a little bit, but he threw a heck of a game.”
Speaking about his offense, Tabor said. “They quit swinging at pitches up in their eyes, and started taking good approaches at the plate. It doesn’t hurt to get fired up every now and then. It was good to see.”
Acting PikeView coach Josh Prudich said about his team on offense, “I was real proud of them at the beginning. They were able to jump on them early (and get) good hits. ...
“At bat, we got complacent and stopped hitting, like we were satisfied with the lead. We’ve got to have the drive, the want. It’s in there, I know it is. We’ve just got to get it going again.”
He said about Nash, “Levi pitched a great game. He kept them on their toes, kept them back at the plate.”
Liberty relief pitcher Josh Browning handled the final 3 1/3 innings in his first appearance on the mound this year. He gave up four singles and did not strike out a batter, but walked just one Panther.
About Browning, Tabor said, “He came in and was super, threw strikes. So happy to see it. He’s (come) in and worked hard. He’s a transfer from Man. He’s just now starting to work his way into the lineup. I’m proud of him. That was a good win.”
Hardin got PikeView’s fifth and final hit in the seventh, but Boggess hit into the game’s only double play to end it.
PikeView’s Carter Shrewsbury led off the first with a triple and finished 2 for 2 at bat. Harmon was 2 for 3.
For Liberty, Dylan Keel was 2 for 3 and drove in two runs. Jordon Hosaflook also had an RBI double in the sixth, when the Raiders batted around the order.
Liberty is now 4-4, but Tabor noted, “We’ve played six ranked opponents and one of our losses was to South Charleston.”
The Raiders are scheduled to play at Summers County on Monday.
PikeView packs its bags for a spring break trip to the Mingo Bay Tournament in coastal South Carolina. They will have their head coach back for those games.
Saturday was the last game of a three-game suspension for coach Josh Wyatt.
— Contact Tom Bone at
Liberty........................001 005 1 — 7 6 1
PikeView....................300 000 0 — 3 5 4
Seth Prince, Josh Browning (4) and Jake Lacek. Levi Nash, Ben Boggess (6), Jacob Harmon (6) and Hunter Moses. WP - Browning (1-0). LP - Nash.