Written by Phil Gatto
The Moore County Raider baseball season started with a bang in Lynchburg on Monday.
Umpires called the season opener against Grundy County a 2-2 tie due to darkness but it was a game that featured several big plays, including two double plays by the Raider infield.
Grundy County got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning when the Yellow Jackets doubled off left-handed pitcher Dakota Bateman scoring a runner from first.
The Raiders tied the score in the bottom of the fourth when Cole Montgomery singled to drive in Josh Prater.
The Yellow Jackets scored again in the fifth on a double off reliever Ben Harvey.
Moore County tied it up again in the bottom of the seventh when Harvey tripled Cody Cashion home with one out.
Josh Allison received an intentional walk and then stole second, but Harvey was caught in a pickle at third and put out to end the Raider threat.
Devan Bean reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Bateman in the bottom of the eighth, but the Raider bats failed as darkness stopped the non-district game.
“We are looking forward to a great baseball season this year at Moore County,” said Raider head coach Josh Deal. “We are returning three seniors to this year’s team and have high expectations for the season.”
“Cody Cashion returns at second base to help lead a veteran infield along with Justin Durm, who will play both shortstop and third base this year. Both senior infielders are expected to lead an experienced infield that includes juniors Dakota Bateman at first base, Joshua Prater who will work both corners and sophomore Cole Boyce who will play shortstop.
“Cole Montgomery is our last senior playing center and left field. Cole leads a very speedy outfield with junior Ben Harvey in left field and sophomore Josh Allison in right.
“We have a solid pitching staff this season led by Bateman and Harvey,” Deal said. “They have a great supporting staff in Boyce, Durm, Cashion, sophomore Chris Nix and freshman James Dougherty.
“Calling the game behind the plate this year is junior Devan Bean, who brings a great arm and a consistent bat to the lineup. Sophomores Austin Womble, Dylon Riddle and Nathaniel Lewis back up the outfield this year and freshman Brandon Babb looks to gain experience at third.
“We experienced a few major setbacks this pre-season with the unfortunate loss of junior Zach Ray, who injured his hand.
“We also lost a beloved junior teammate, Joe Strasler, in a car accident prior to the season,” Deal said. “The team has met this adversity with a new union and desire to win a district title for this program.”
The Raiders travel to Lincoln County on Thursday for a 4:30 p.m. District 9-A game with Fayetteville City School, and will host district rival Huntland Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Jim Burton Field.
The Raiders travel to Huntland on Tuesday. The junior varsity Raiders will play at 4 p.m. followed by the varsity game at 6 p.m.