Offensive fireworks in the third and fourth innings supplied an eight-run surge for the Ravenwood Raptors baseball team (17-4, 9-1) and lead to victory over the Brentwood Bruins (18-2, 8-2) at home, 8-2, Tuesday night in the “Battle of the Woods.”
“Ravenwood has a good group, and they swing it really well,” said Brentwood head coach Bill Moore. “They played really clean and took care of the baseball. They can do multiple things offensively and are a good team.”
“It is a huge win, snapping their win streak and being able to give us a lot of confidence,” said Ravenwood catcher Andrew Dudas.
“I have been at Ravenwood for 10 years, and no matter what sport, it is great to win this one,” said Ravenwood head coach Danny Borne. “The kids always look forward to it and circle it on the calendar. To get ahead and get the lead early was huge for us.”
In the top of the first inning, Ravenwood starting pitcher Lucas Kocian retired the side in order with a strikeout looking, forcing a groundout to the shortstop and catcher Dudas throwing out a runner stealing at second base.
The Bruins starter Jack Morris drew a groundout to first base, a fly out to center, and recorded a strikeout swinging to keep the score at 0-0 in the bottom of the first.
Kocian continued to find his rhythm in the top of the second, coaxing a groundout to second and third base along with a fly out to center field to remain deadlocked at 0-0.
Morris maintained success in the bottom of the second inning, forcing a pop out to second base, recording a strikeout looking and drawing a fly out to center field, 0-0.
In the top of the third, Kocian kept the Bruins hitters off balance, dealing two strikeouts and forcing a ground ball to first base as the game remained tied 0-0.
The Raptors broke through in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run RBI double by Dudas and a RBI single from right fielder Stephen Bell to give Ravenwood the edge, 3-0.
Kocian was able to force a groundout to second base, a fly out to right field and get out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning with a strikeout looking to keep the advantage 3-0.
Ravenwood created an offensive explosion in the bottom of the fourth, scoring five runs. The Raptors started off with a RBI double from third baseman Myles Denton. Dudas picked up his third and fourth RBI’s of the game on a double. An RBI single from Bell and a wild throw by the Brentwood catcher extended their lead 8-0.
“The last two nights he (Dudas) has been extremely hot, swinging the bat really well,” said Coach Borne. “He has put us on his back and carried the offense. We were able to get some guys on base in front of him, and drive them in, extending the game. “
“I saw the ball really well coming out of the pitcher’s hand,” said Dudas. “I was trying to stay through the ball and hit it to center field.”
In the top of the fifth inning, Kocian recorded a strikeout and groundout and drew a pop out to second base to preserve the Raptor lead, 8-0.
Brentwood reliever Dean Huffman retired the Raptor lineup in order in the bottom of the fifth inning, forcing two fly outs and a ground ball to keep the score at 8-0.
Ravenwood reliever Bobby Bevis kept the shutout going for the Raptors in the top of the sixth inning, drawing a fly out to center, a pop out to first base and a lineout to third base to keep the Bruins off the board, 8-0.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Brentwood’s sidearm reliever Samuel Billington stalled the Ravenwood offense, recording a strikeout swinging and two groundouts to second base to keep the margin at 8-0.
In the top of the seventh, Brentwood avoided the shutout, picking up a two-run RBI single from left fielder Aaron Walton to cut the deficit. However, the rally ended with a strikeout looking giving Ravenwood the victory, 8-2.
“He (Walton) kept competing and seeing some pitches and was able to get a ball to fall,” said Brentwood head coach Bill Moore.
Kocian pitched five innings and recorded the win against Brentwood. Bevis allowed only two runs.
“They were able to pound the zone and I was able to help get some strikes for them,” Dudas said. “Our defense stepped up and made big plays.
“That was Lucas Kocian ‘s first start of the year,” said Coach Borne. “We had been using him out of the bullpen, but he has been such a strike-thrower all year. Even though he is not built up pitchwise to go that long, he still kept them off balance and we made the plays behind him.”
Ravenwood and Brentwood will face each other on Thursday night at Brentwood for round 2 of this district rivalry.
“I want to see us compete and have fun,” said Coach Moore. “This was not our best version of us tonight. Hopefully our guys will be able to put it behind them and move on to the next game.”
“We know that they are going to respond,” said Coach Borne. “They do all the little things correct and are well-coached. You cannot look at the standings and tell what is going on. We have to continue to grow in every area of the game.”