GRAYSON – After a week at the beach cooled East Carter’s bats, the Raiders found a return home to their liking.
East Carter rebounded from an 0-4 stay in Myrtle Beach with an 11-1 run-ruling of Greenup County at J.P. Kouns Field on Tuesday evening.
Trevor Cline led the hit parade for the Raiders, cranking a grand slam and driving in six runs.
“At the beach, we were kinda struggling to produce a lot of runs and hits,” the sophomore third baseman said. “It felt good to come back out here and have the whole team producing.”
Leadoff hitter Donovan Damron was 3 for 3 and drove in two runs, including the one in the bottom of the fifth inning that produced the magic margin for a mercy rule. Trey
Scott and Cline each went 2 for 3, and Lucas Young uncorked a two-run home run off the roof of the Forever 31 Field House that makes up part of the left-field fence at East Carter’s diamond.
East Carter scored 12 runs or more four times — all at home — in the six games it played before going south. In South Carolina, the Raiders averaged 3.8 runs in four games.
East Carter scored seven runs in the first two innings Tuesday to return to its early-season form.
“I think that’ll be our strength down the road,” Raiders coach Jeremiah Shearer said. “From the get-go, Donovan set the tone with a base hit up the middle on the first pitch. That first inning, we came out swinging it.
“You have to do that against good teams, get them down early, and we did that, and I think we took advantage of what they gave us.”
East Carter’s first three batters — Damron, Scott and Young — got aboard ahead of Cline, who yanked the first grand slam of his life over the right-field fence.
“It was really cool, just because of the feeling,” Cline said. “When you’ve never experienced something like that, it’s just something else. Can’t really describe it.”
Cline added a two-run bouncing single just out of the reach of the Musketeers’ diving second baseman in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 9-1.
Greenup County tried to mount a rally in the visitor’s half of the fifth and loaded the bases with one away, despite running into an out when East Carter second baseman Ethan Tiller chased down an errant pickoff throw along the first-base line and threw a Musketeer out trying to take third.
The Raiders called on senior Noah Caudill in relief. He fanned the first hitter he faced and induced a topped ground-out back to himself to end the inning.
“We’ve been having one inning a game where we can’t stop the bleeding,” Shearer said. “We’ve been asking these guys in practice, who’s gonna be the guy to step up and do that? When Noah came in, he was that guy tonight to step up and stop the bleeding.”
Caden McDavid was the winning pitcher for East Carter (4-7). He allowed one run on four hits over 4 1-3 innings, with four strikeouts and five walks.