Ravenwood’s magic number is down to two in District 11-AAA.
The Raptors (18-4, 11-1 11-AAA) are two wins or two Brentwood losses away from clinching their first regular-season district baseball title since 2015.
Ravenwood started to pull away with two crucial wins over Brentwood (19-3, 9-3) last week.
The Raptors beat the Bruins 8-2 Tuesday and 6-0 Thursday.
“I tell our kids all the time that every district win is very valuable,” Raptors coach Danny Borne said. “This is my 10th year in the district and every team is good. You’ve got to earn everything you get every single game whether it’s Brentwood, Independence, Summit, Franklin or Centennial.”
Two weeks ago, Ravenwood, Brentwood and Summit (13-11, 9-5) each had one district loss, but the Raptors swept their two-game series with the Spartans.
Then Dickson County (17-12, 7-7) swept a pair from Summit.
Borne is in his third year as head coach after seven years as an assistant to Teddy Craig.
The regular-season champion from 11-AAA earns an automatic bid to the Region 6-AAA Tournament.
“(That) allows you a lot of flexibility in the district tournament,” Borne said. “You can kind of line your pitching staff up for the next round and the other advantage is you get to, so you get to host the district tournament.”
Ravenwood lost its first two games of the season before getting a big 6-1 win at Siegel (19-6) in March.
“They’ve been ranked pretty high and they’re doing really well this season,” Borne said.
Nearly three weeks later, the Raptors got another impressive victory with a 9-5 win at Mt. Juliet (20-4).
“I think they’ve been one or two in the rankings all year, so that was a big win for us as well,” Borne said. “But like I tell our guys, it’s about growth. It is a very short season because you play about 30 games in seven weeks.”
Ravenwood features a balanced lineup that is hitting .310 as a team.
“I think offense has been the key so far this season,” Borne said.
Raptors senior Austin Johnson has committed to Freed-Hardeman and junior Thomas Cooper committed to Valparaiso.
“It’s super balanced between having a bunch of speed guys who get in and power guys who will drive in the runs and it’s worked for us this year,” Ravenwood pitcher/first baseman/third baseman Blake Bevis said of his team’s offense.
Johnson leads the Raptors with a .425 batting average. Andrew Dudas is hitting .356 with 16 RBIs and Stephen Bell is hitting .348.
“It’s pretty legit,” Raptors senior captain Ben Severance said of his team’s offense. “We’ve got guys that hit one through nine and can really swing it and some guys that can put it out of the yard.”
The shortstop-pitcher has signed with Tennessee-Martin.
Ravenwood has four district games left.
Borne is grateful just to have a season after last year was limited to three games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It makes you not take anything for granted,” Borne said. “The kids were still able to get 50, 60 whatever games throughout their summer season, so that was a huge benefit and we got back to our normal offseason in August.”
Nolensville (17-8) is one of the few teams to beat Ravenwood. The Knights edged the Raptors 3-2 Friday behind seven solid innings from junior pitcher Landon Dismang.
“They’ve got a lot of team speed and some really good base runners and really force you to play solid defense and put pressure on your pitcher and catcher,” Knights coach Zach Hudson said.
“Their top four are really solid and the one that stands out the most is Bevis. He hit four-hole against us and he just makes solid contact, a big right-handed hitter. He forces you to locate well and keep the ball down in the zone.”