As if the weather leading up to the 2015 baseball season wasn’t hard enough on the McCreary Central Raiders, their home opener Saturday featured near-freezing temperatures when they hosted the Clay County Tigers and Casey County Rebels in a round-robin triple header.
After dropping their season opener to Whitley County Thursday night, the Raiders hoped a short homestand would help get their first win, but Mother Nature apparently had other ideas.
With a first-pitch temperature of 32-degrees gripping a baseball is extremely difficult, and McCreary starter Ethan Stephens suffered control problems in the first inning against Clay County.
Giving up back-to-back walks to open the game, the Tigers drove in the first run on a double to left. A third walk loaded the bases and five more runs would cross the plate off two singles and a sacrifice fly before the Raiders could get out of the inning, trailing 6-0.
McCreary tried to answer the Tigers’ opening salvo, plating a single run in their half of the inning off a single and a Clay County throwing error, but that would be the last baserunners the Raiders would see the rest of the contest.
Stephens settled down over the next two frames, holding Clay County scoreless and allowing only two base hits, but the Raiders could not gain ground, going down in order both innings.
Clay added on to their lead, scoring six additional runs off Raider reliever Trystan Adkins in the top of the fourth off four hits, two hit batters and a walk for a 12-1 lead.
In the fifth Adkins pitched out of a jam after a lead off single, hit batter and wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs, but he retired the final three batters on two infield pop outs and a fly ball to center.
But the Raiders couldn’t prolong the game, going down in order in the bottom of the inning to fall 12-1.
In the afternoon game against Casey County, the Raiders fell 4-1. The Rebels took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but McCreary closed the gap with a solo run of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The Rebels added single runs in the fourth and sixth and held off the Raiders along the way for the win.
The Raiders fell to 0-4 on the season with an 8-5 loss at Clinton County on Monday.
McCreary travels to Knox Central this afternoon, then will host the Maroons of Pulaski County Friday afternoon. On Saturday they will play two games at Clay County – a rematch against the Tigers and a match-up against Perry County Central. Monday McCreary travels to Lynn Camp, and to Rockcastle County on Tuesday. Their next home game will not be until April 16 when they host Southwestern.