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Rittenberry tosses no-hitter for Spartans

Kevin Mays • May 15, 2019 at 1:11 AM

COEBURN — Eastside senior Austin Rittenberry was one pitch away from perfection Tuesday.

Rittenberry threw a complete-game no-hitter and the Spartans beat Thomas Walker 6-0 in the Cumberland District baseball tournament semifinals at Alumni Stadium.

Eastside (13-8) advanced to Friday’s Cumberland championship game at 1 p.m. against J.I. Burton (9-10) at Alumni Stadium. The Raiders held off Twin Springs 6-4 in extra innings.

Thomas Walker (8-13) will play the Titans (17-4) on Friday in a 5 p.m. consolation game.

SPARTANS IN COMMAND

“The fastball was working good and I had some curveball in there that was working as well,” Rittenberry said.

The Southwest Virginia Community College signee struck out 15. His only mistake came in the fourth inning when he issued a two-out walk to Lucas Sturgill.

Peyton Pope finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Rittenberry was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Nick Livingston went 2-for-4 for Eastside, which totaled eight hits.

BURTON WINS IN EXTRAS

Derrick Allen, Burton’s only senior, went 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored while also recording 15 strikeouts over seven innings in the extra-inning win.

“We came into this year being the underdog,” Allen said. “But we’ve worked hard trying to get better and that’s paying off.”

The game was a pitcher’s duel the first six innings.

The second-seeded Titans took a 2-1 lead behind the solid pitching of Justin Reed, but the floodgates opened for the Raiders in the top of the seventh — thanks in part to some bad defense.

The Raiders scored three runs on two hits and four Titans errors in the frame to build a 4-2 lead. Jaymen Buchanan, Allen and Tanner Branham all scored unearned runs in the inning.

“We put the ball in play and that made the difference,” said Burton coach Jacob Caudill. “We started off a little shaky and this whole team bought in and stayed in and they came out and fought every day. I can’t be prouder of a team than I am today.”

Twin Springs answered in the bottom of the seventh.

Corbin Kilgore walked to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and went to third on John Lane’s groundout. One out later, Reed was intentionally walked and moved to second without a throw. Cole Burke then came through with a two-out single that scored Kilgore and Reed, and the game went to the eighth.

In the top of the eighth, Burton came up with what proved to be the winning runs.

Tyrell Ingram led off by reaching on an error, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Jonah Cochrane’s single. Allen followed with a single that scored Cochrane.

Burton’s Aki Godsey came in the bottom of the eighth and picked up the save by retiring the Titans in order, including two on strikeouts.

Burke finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Reed was 2-for-3.

“I’m proud of our guys the way they battled, but there at the end we just didn’t make enough plays to come out on top today,” said Twin Springs coach Jarred Finch.

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