Shortstop Ethan Jones belted a solo home run in the top of the first off Clinton starter Caleb Riddle. Jones singled and scored the Raiders’ final run in the fifth. Ty Foster, Jalen Bragg, Kobe Williams and Layton Mahon also had two hits for Laurens (17-6).
The pitching matchup heavily favored the Raiders, who could afford to pitch ace Jared Cvetko as he will not have to pitch again until Tuesday. Cvetko gave up five hits and two runs, both in the first inning, walking one and striking out five. Ethan Jones fanned three more in the final two innings.
Clinton (6-11) is 5-4 in Region 3-3A, meaning that playoff implications will be present on Friday night when the Red Devils host Chapman. Head coach Sean McCarthy sent four pitchers to the hill: Riddle, Taylor Bailey, Chance Ewell and Dawson Green. Only the last, Green, got off unscathed as only a walk and a hit batter marred his two innings.
Cvetko retired the Clinton leadoff batter in five of the seven innings. The Red Devils had three hits in the first – Cameron Bishop and Matt Thomas drove in the runs – but only two more in the remaining six frames.
“We wanted to get Cvetko some innings because he won’t go again until the playoffs,” LDHS head coach Tori Patterson said. “We’ve already got the second seed locked up, so we don’t have to beat Greenwood (Saturday). We have the luxury of holding back Jared.”
“I pitched a cast of pitchers, who, I thought, did a great job,” McCarthy said. “We had a rough inning (Laurens’ three-run third), and we didn’t run the bases well at all, and that’s not like us. We’ve got a big Friday – Senior Night, a region game – and I want us to go into the postseason playing well.”