HANCEVILLE - A low-scoring affair for the first three innings between Good Hope and Hanceville was starting to look like a pitcher's duel between Good Hope's Deven Gowens and Hanceville's Josh Loggins, but the Raiders took advantage of some sloppy Bulldog defense in the fourth inning and scored four runs in the inning to go on to win, 6-3.
Good Hope looked to strike first in the opening inning. Two-out singles by Matt Hancock and Warren Creel put them in business, but Gowens hit a hard ground ball back to Loggins, who threw it to first to get out of the inning. Back-to-back one-out singles by Alex Campbell and Isaac Holmes had Hanceville looking to push across the first run of the game. A double steal attempt did not work out and Campbell got thrown out at third, but Holmes did reach second. Dalton Rice lined an RBI single into left-center, bringing home Holmes to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Good Hope looked to get on the scoreboard in the top of the third. Matt Dixon drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning. He then stole second and scored on an RBI double by Gage Henke to tie the game at one, but he got thrown out at third by Mark Dyer. A walk by Austin Eakes, a single by Hancock and a walk by Creel loaded the bases for Gowens, who hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Eakes and give the Raiders a 2-1 lead.
Good Hope broke the game open in the fourth inning. Houston White led off the inning with a single to left field. Preston Bagwell moved him over to second on a sacrifice bunt. Dixon then hit a ground ball single up the middle to put runners on the corners with one away. Back-to-back errors by Hanceville helped Good Hope plate White and Dixon and that increased the Raider lead to 4-1. Then Hancock had the big hit in the inning as he lined a two-run double into left-center to bring home Henke and Eakes to push the lead to 6-1, and that ended Loggins' day. Kainen Cruce, on just two pitches, got out of the inning without any more damage.
The Raiders loaded the bases once more in the next inning, but Cruce got out of the inning by striking out Eakes. A one-out infield single by Campbell, then a walk by Holmes, had the Bulldogs looking to start a rally of their own. With Rice at the plate, Gowens tried to pick off Campbell at second, but he threw it past Eakes, and it went through the legs of Henke; Campbell and Holmes easily scored on the error, and Hanceville cut the deficit to 6-3.
Back-to-back two-out singles by Gowens and Malachi Holt had Good Hope in business once more, but Campbell struck out White to stop the Good Hope rally. Hancock relieved Gowens in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a one-out error to finish off the win for the Raiders, who improved to 6-4 on the season.
Gowens went six innings. He gave up six hits and three runs, one of them earned, walked three and struck out six. He added a hit and an RBI as well. Hancock pitched a scoreless seventh and also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a single, a double and a walk. Henke went 2-for-5 with an RBI, a single and a double. Creel and Dixon each had one hit and drew a combined three walks. Eakes added a hit and drew a walk. Holt added two singles. Dixon and Eakes each scored two runs. White and Henke each scored a run. The Raiders will look to extend their winning streak to three when they travel to Falkville on Saturday morning.
Loggins went three-and-a-third. He gave up seven hits, six runs, four of them earned, walked three and did not strike out a batter. Kainen Cruce went one-and-a-third, giving up just two hits, walking one and striking out zero. Campbell gave up just two hits and struck out four in his two innings of work, and added two hits as well. Dyer had two hits also. Rice had an RBI single, and Holmes had a hit as well. Holmes scored two runs and Campbell scored the other run. The Bulldogs fell to 6-4 on the season and will take a trip to Holly Pond tomorrow.
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