By PHIL GATTO, Contributing Sports Writer
The Moore County Raider baseball team ended the regular season on a hot note, taking second place in District 9A with a win over Forrest Monday in Chapel Hill.
The win gives the Raiders home field advantage in the first round of the district tournament, which begins today at 4:30 p.m. as Moore County hosts Huntland.
The Raiders spoiled Forrest’s Senior Night on Monday as they defeated the Rockets 2-1 in the regular season finale.
Behind the pitching of junior hurler Cole Boyce, the Raiders got on the scoreboard in the top of the second after Boyce led off with a base hit followed by an error that sent him on to second. He scored from second on a base hit by freshman James Dougherty.
Moore County added their next run when senior Justin Durm led off the fifth inning with a base hit, then stole second and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior Dakota Bateman. Durm then scored on a passed ball.
The Rockets led off the bottom of the seventh with a base hit, then avoided a double play and moved the runner to second.
Another base hit scored the runner and pulled the Rockets within one, but were unable to do anything else thanks to good fielding by Durm at shortstop and Dougherty in right field to help Boyce hang on for the win.
Boyce struck out seven in the game.
The win was the second over the Rockets in as many outings as the Raiders defeated Forrest on Saturday in Lynchburg 3-2.
It was southpaw junior Bateman on the mound as the Raiders fell behind 1-0 in the second inning.
However, the Raiders came back with two runs in the bottom of the third with juniors Devan Bean and Joshua Prater scoring for the Raiders. Dougherty scored in the fourth for Moore County.
The Rockets made it 3-2 in the sixth and seemed about to score again but were stopped at the plate on a double play after junior Ben Harvey snagged a fly ball to center and then threw a strike to senior Cody Cashion at second. Cashion threw to Bean who tagged the runner out despite being freight-trained to secure the win.
The Raiders had little trouble handling Culleoka in Lynchburg for the Senior Day game.
Durm started the game for Moore County and then handed the ball over to Cashion with a 7-1 lead in the sixth.
However, the biggest win for the Raiders was their defeat of Cascade last Tuesday night in Wartrace in a 5-0 shutout.
It was Moore County’s first win over Cascade in 25 outings, and seemed to spark a new look to the Raiders that should carry over to the first round of the District 9A tournament.
Bateman limited the Champion batters to only one hit in the game, and the Moore County defense was almost flawless.
Bean scored on a RBI single by Boyce in the first inning, and Harvey drove in senior Cole Montgomery and Dougherty with a double and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Durm to put the Raiders up 4-0 in the fourth.
Durm scored the final Raider run after leading off the fifth with a base hit and then scoring from second on a drive by Bean that got past the Cascade third baseman.