NEWBURGH, N.Y. — The Hudson Valley Raiders 17-Under Travel Tournament baseball team opened its 2012 season, reaching the tournament final before falling at the 21-Gun Salute Memorial Weekend Wood Bats Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
Raiders Head Coach Rick Tocco was pleased with his team’s first competition of the season. His pitching staff allowed a 2.25 earned run average and held opposing batters to a .184 batting average.
“All my boys have been playing high school ball, some up until Friday night, and this was our first games as a team," he said. "Starting pitcher Ricky Tocco and Chris Pell had not pitched in competition since last November, and Kyle Kuttruff had pitched just eight innings of high school ball. And Michael Haag had a lot of innings this season."
The Raiders, with players from the northern Westchester communities, opened with a 7-2 win against the Bergen Swamp Rats from New Jersey with Tocco pitching six strong innings. Tocco walked four and allowed three hits. R.J. Lyman pitched the seventh inning to end the game.
The Raiders offense opened the scoring quickly with a run-scoring single by Zach Giusti in the first inning. Michael Haag’s single in the third also drove in a run. Hudson Valley struck again in the fourth when Jeremy Boyd scored on a Jason Tierney single, and Guisti and Tocco each drove in another run. Tocco drove in his third run in the fifth, and Chris Pell walked with the bases loaded to plate another run.
OC Bombers 4, Raiders 1
In Game 2 of the tournament, Chris Pell pitched well into the sixth inning with a 1-0 lead until the Bombers scored four times. The Raiders comeback attempt in the seventh inning was ended in a double play.
Raiders 6, NYC Astros 0
Raiders pitcher Kyle Kuttruff pitched a seven-inning shutout, striking out eight, walking two and allowing eight hits in a Game 3 win that set up a rematch with the Bombers for Game 4.
Jason Tierney and R.J. Lyman scored on a throwing error by the Astros pitcher for an early 2-0 lead. Kuttruff and Ricky Tocco scored in the second when Greg Lamb singled them both home. The Raiders added two more in the fourth when Tierney and Lyman score on a Zach Giusti single.
Bombers 4, Raiders 1
The win over the Astros set up a rematch against the OC Bombers. Both starting pitchers dueled for three scoreless innings. But Raiders pitcher Michael Haag got into trouble and gave up back-to-back singles. Haag got a fly ball out and struck the next batter. But the Bombers got a two-out, two-strike double to score three runs and take a 3-0 lead.
The score remained 3-0 into the sixth inning, when the Raiders scored their only run. R.J. Lyman singled, stole second, reached third on a passed ball and scored on a passed ball. The Raiders threatened in the fifth but stranded two runners in scoring position.
The Raiders, who compete in the New York Elite Baseball Leagues, open their summer league games at Peekskill Stadium on June 13 against the Hudson Valley Bulls at 6 p.m.