CHESHIRE, Ohio — It’s not how you start, but rather how you finish that makes a difference.
The River Valley baseball team jumped out to an early lead over two-time defending league champion Alexander, but the visiting Spartans rallied back to claim an 11-4 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division victory, on Wednesday night in Gallia County.
The Spartans (7-2, 2-0) scored one run on two hits in the top of the first inning, but the Raiders (3-5, 0-2) answered in the bottom of the frame when Jamie Bainter doubled home Dillon Ragan, and then scored on a Devin McDonald single.
After a scoreless second inning, Alexander tied the game in the top of the third when Jordan Colburn singled home Cory Chapman. The Spartans regained the lead in to the fourth inning, when Taylor Kimbrough singled and later scored.
AHS broke the game open in the top of the fifth, combining four hits with three walks and one RVHS error, to score five runs. One more Spartan crossed home plate in the sixth inning and the lead was extended to 9-2.
River Valley — which suffered through four straight scoreless frames — got back on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Brycen Brumfield singled home Jack Farley.
AHS started the seventh inning with three straight hits — including back-to-back triples by Mason Chapman and Chace Harris — plating two runs and pushing the lead to 11-3.
Raiders senior Justin Sizemore singled home K.C. Collins with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Alexander held on for the 11-4 victory.
Wesley Shellman earned the pitching victory for AHS, striking out seven, while allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk in six frames of work. Austin Bauer surrendered one run on one hit and one walk, in one inning of relief.
Dillon Ragan suffered the loss on the mound, striking out one, while surrendering seven runs on nine hits and four free passes in five innings. Austin Ragan pitched two frames and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks.
McDonald led the RVHS offense with one double, one single and one RBI in three at-bats, while Brumfield and Sizemore both singled twice and drove in one run. Bainter and Dillon Ragan both doubled once and scored once, with Bainter driving in one run. Austin Ragan contributed one single for the Silver and Black, while Collins and Jack Farley both scored once.
Aric Russell was 3-for-3 with one double, two singles, one run scored and two RBI to lead the victors, while Colburn was 3-for-4 with one double, two singled and three RBI. Mason Chapman went 2-for-4 with a triple, a single, two runs scored and one RBI, Harris was 2-for-4 with a triple, a single, one run scored and one RBI, while Shea Grigsby was 2-for-4 with a double, a single and two runs scored.
The Raiders will look for revenge on April 22, when these teams meet in Albany.
River Valley was scheduled to host South Gallia in non-league action on Thursday, but the game was postponed due to weather. The Silver and Black are scheduled to resume TVC Ohio play on Friday, at Meigs.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.