Rappahannock Beats Eastside to Advance

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By Jon Kaufman

Radford University-On a day already highlighting great pitching, game two of the VHSL 1A semifinal followed suit with a nip and tuck war between the Raiders of Rappahannock High School and Eastside High School.

Like today's first game, one team opted for a lefty starter, junior Austin Smallwood of Eastside, and the other placed a right hander on the mound, senior Devin Sisson of the Raiders. Rappahannock wasted no time from the get go, jumping on Smallwood in the first inning. Walks to Ryan Martin and Sisson to lead off the inning, Shortstop Kaleb Self shorthopped the left centerfield wall, scoring his teammates and landing a standup double. DH Braden Clark knocked a two out opposite field single to drive in self and Eastside was quickly down by three runs.

Eastside third baseman Kody Bledsoe got down to business opening the second inning with a base hit and DH JD Slone reached on an infield error. Dakota Moore reached on an error, loading the bases for Adam Keaton. Sisson was charged with a balk, Bledsoe scored, and Keaton rapped a single to plate Slone, falling just short of tying the game early.

From the second inning on, Smallwood and Sisson settled down to the second pitcher's battle of the day, as the sun beat down on Radford Stadium.

Through the middle innings, base runners were at a premium. Several scoring chances materialized, yet neither team was able to cross the plate. Rappahannock collected an import insurance run in the seventh when Romeo Jackson worked a base on balls, reached second base on a wild pitch and Sisson helped his cause with a RBI single to post a two run bases loaded situation, and a chance to steal the game. I don't know if the Raiders girls softball team, sitting feet from the plate, conjured up the baseball gods to help the team or it was the mental toughness of Sisson's make-up, but the righthander penned his tenth strikeout of the day with the final out, propelling his team to the championship game.

Smallwood and Sisson were brilliant this afternoon, on a day where the importance of good pitching reigned supreme.


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