In their Region 3-4A baseball game against the Humphreys County Cowboys Tuesday night, the Cleveland High Wildcats were held to just seven hits at the plate, while their pitchers walked eight batters and hit two. At the end of the day, however, Cleveland came away with an 11-3 victory at Sank Powe Field. Cleveland improved to 11-1 with a 2-0 mark in the region.
Despite the win, Cleveland High head coach Steve Wies wasn’t satisfied with the overall performance.
“I’m not pleased with eight walks and two hit batters,” Wies said. “Our pitchers need to pound the strike zone. I think we try to overpower hitters instead of pitching to contact. Our hitters are still lunging at the ball. We didn’t have too many balls hit solidly.”
The Wildcats’ offense came to life in the bottom of the first as Marshall Boggs and Matt Ray each tagged singles. Boggs ended up scoring on an error, while Ray ended up crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly from Trace Bray to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Ray, who walked two in the first inning, struggled with his control in the third inning as he walked three batters and hit one. His final walk of the inning drove in a run as it came with the bases loaded and one out to make the score 2-1. Ray ended up retiring the last two batters in the inning to minimize the damage and keep the score at 2-1.
In the bottom of the third, Cleveland broke the game open a little bit. Boggs led off the inning with a walk, and Ray tagged a single to put runners at first and second with no outs. When the next batter, Jared Hunt, hit a ball back to the pitcher, the pitcher committed a throwing error that scored Boggs for the first run of the frame. Cleveland continued to add to the attack as Bray hit a ground ball that plated Ray, while Hunt scored on a balk for the third run of the inning. The Wildcats weren’t finished as Dalton Lambre tagged a single with two outs that scored two more runs to cap off a five-run inning to make the score 7-1.
In the top of the fourth, Bray stepped on the mound for Cleveland and had a tough inning of his own by giving up three walks while hitting a batter. The Cowboys were able to score two runs in the frame to cut Cleveland’s lead down to 7-3.
Humphreys County couldn’t keep its momentum going as Cleveland took advantage of an error and three walks to score two more runs for a 9-3 advantage.
After a shaky fourth, Bray settled down by giving up just one hit with three strikeouts and no walks over the next two innings to keep the Cowboys at bay.
While Bray was retiring the opposition on the mound, the Wildcats added to their lead at the plate with a run in the fifth and another run in the sixth to make the score 11-3 after six innings of play.
In the top of the seventh, Boggs towed the rubber for Cleveland and retired all three batters he faced with two strikeouts to end the game and preserve the victory.
Despite the walks, the trio of Ray, Bray and Boggs combined on a one-hitter.
Bray earned the win for Cleveland as he gave up two runs, one earned, on one hit with four strikeouts and three walks. Ray didn’t allow a hit but gave up a run with seven strikeouts and five walks over three innings in the no-decision.
For Cleveland at the plate, Ray led the way by tagging three hits and scoring two runs with a RBI, followed by Boggs with a hit and three runs, Lambre with a hit, two RBIs and a run, Dillon Norwood and Jason Young with a hit each and Ben Woo with two runs as a courtesy runner.
Cleveland will be back in action today as the team will travel to Yazoo City to play Yazoo County in another region game.