RAVENSWOOD – Ripley High plated five runs in the first inning giving Nathan Tucker all the support he would need on the mound as the Vikings cruised to a 7-3 victory at Wright Field.
Ravenswood (18-14, LKC 9-6) threw Jesse Brown against the Vikings. Brown has had a fine year including a "No No" he notched against Tyler Consolidated two weeks ago.
Ripley's Tucker has come on strong for the Vikings this season and established himself as a leader in a rotation full of freshman and sophomores. The junior had posted an earned run average of 1.94 going into the game. When the Vikings have played defense behind Tucker this season, he has been very effective on the hill.
Ripley's Christopher Jordan got the fireworks started in the first when he took a five-pitch walk from Brown. Senior Tyler Pittenger then singled and Jordan moved to second. Jonny Stepp came to the plate and doubled down the third base line with a laser that remained in fair ground. Jordan scampered home as Pittenger advanced to third on the play.
Issac Koontz then hit a sharp grounder to third and Pittenger was thrown out at home and Stepp advanced to third on the play. Brown then plunked Cody Pittenger and Koontz advanced to second leaving the bases juiced for Nathan Tucker.
The junior helped his own cause on the mound by lacing a triple to the right field corner to empty the bases and give Ripley a 5-0 advantage out of the gate.
"Brown hadn't thrown for a few days but he settled in after the first and pitched pretty well after he got his pitches down in the zone," said Red Devil skipper Wes Swain.
Ravenswood got on the board in the third. It all began with a four- pitch walk to Will Schindler. He advanced to second on a Ben Johnson groundout. Logan Jarrett singled to right field, advancing Schindler to third and he alertly scampered home on the play.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Devils added two more runs when Trey Hatcher doubled home Heath Burgess and Thomas Sturm brought home Hatcher with a single, as Ripley took the game 7-5.
Tucker hurled five innings and up eight hits, three earned runs and notched a strikeout.
"Nathan (Tucker) pitched a good game and we hit the ball pretty well," said Ripley Coach Shane Casto.
Frosh Logan McCoy pitched two innings and notched three strikeouts in relief for Ripley.
Tyler Pittenger had a masterful game at the plate for Ripley.
Pittenger led the hit parade for Ripley going 4-for-4 with two RBIs, Jonny Stepp was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, Nathan Tucker was 1-for-3 with three RBIs, Alex Hambrick had a hit and an RBI, Christopher Jordan was 1-for-3 and scored three runs and Isaac Koontz was 1-for-3 with a run scored,
Page 2 of 2 - For the Red Devils, Devon Crews went 3-for-4, Logan Jarrett was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Nick Ballard was 1-for-4, Heath Burgess was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Tret Hatcher was 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI, Thomas Sturm was 1-for-2 with an RBI, and Will Schindler scored a run.
Brown hurled a complete game giving up 10 hits, seven earned runs while walking eight and fanning five Vikings.
Ripley (9-21, MSAC 4-10) faced Capital last night in Region 3 Section 4 action. Ravenswood will face the loser of Monday's sectional matchup with Ritchie and Roane County this evening.