Pacers split pair of conference games

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The Switzerland County Pacer varsity baseball team split a pair of ORVC games during the past week.

- Last Friday, the Pacers battled hard against Jac-Cen-Del before falling just short, 8-7.

Coach Chad Combs praised the pitching effort of Matt Roland, who went five innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out six and walking four.

Zack Whitaker pitched the sixth inning, picking up a strikeout but was saddled with the loss; and Casper Stow pitched the seventh, picking up a strikeout and not allowing a run.

The Eagles got on the board first, scoring two runs in the opening inning and another in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.

The Pacer bats were quiet through those first three innings, with Casper Stow’s single being the only hit.

That all changed in the bottom of the fourth, as the Switzerland County offense got on track, scoring four runs to tie the game.

Zack Whitaker started things off with a double; and after Dalton Roark flied to center; Matt Roland drew a base on balls. Douglas Ray struck out; but Jacob Turner singled to drive home Whitaker.

Owen Wagner drew a walk to load the bases; and Roland scored when Keegan Ray was hit by a pitch.

Casper Stow’s single then plated Turner and Wagner to push the Pacers out in front before Ryan Brubaker struck out to end the inning.

Jac-Cen-Del tied the game in the top of the fifth when Tyler Huff scored on a single by Keith Simon; and the Pacers couldn’t answer in the bottom of the fifth, going out in order.

The sixth inning was where the Eagles did their damage, scoring four runs to grab an 8-4 lead. Reuben Benham’s two run single was the big hit in the stanza.

Again, Switzerland County couldn’t answer in its half of the sixth; and after the Pacers shut down the Eagle bats in the top of the seventh, Coach Combs’ crew had one more chance.

They almost got there.

Stow led off the last inning with a single; and he advanced to second on a single by Brubaker. Whitaker’s single made it three straight and loaded the bases; and Roark’s sacrifice fly to right centerfield plated Stow.

Roland struck out for the second out of the inning; but Ray drew a walk to load the bases; and Turner singled to score Brubaker and Whitaker and leave the Pacers down by just one.

But that’s all Switzerland County could muster, and Justice Bledsoe’s grounder to second ended the contest.

- On Monday the Pacers bounced back with a 4-2 win over South Ripley.

Zack Whitaker did an outstanding job on the mound, going all seven innings, striking out six and walking four while allowing no earned runs.

The visiting Pacers struck early, as Casper Stow opened the first inning with a single and then stole second; and Ryan Brubaker sacrificed his teammate to third. Whitaker then grounded out sharply to third, scoring Stow.

The Raiders answered that run in the bottom of the first; and the two teams remained tied at 1-1 until the fifth.

Matt Roland opened the fifth for Switzerland County with a walk, and he advanced to third on singles by Douglas Ray and Jacob Turner.

After Roland was thrown out at home, Ray scored the tie breaking run on a single by Justin Johnson. The Raiders went quietly in their half of the fifth.

The sixth inning saw more scoring, as Brubaker was hit by a pitch; and he advanced to second when Whitaker rolled out to the pitcher.

Dalton Roark then drew a walk; and Roland followed that with a walk to load the based.

Ray then doubled into the left centerfield gap, scoring Brubaker and Roark.

Up 4-1, Switzerland County played solid defense in the closing innings, giving up a run in the bottom of the sixth before shutting the Raiders down in the bottom of the seventh to earn the victory, 4-2.