Seven Rivers Christian relies on bats and dominant pitching to shutout Ocala Christian

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Posted April 11, 2023 | By Allen Barney
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette

The Seven Rivers Christian Warriors (8-7) pounded out 11 hits and did not allow a hit in a 21-0 win over the Ocala Christian Crusaders (3-10) on Tuesday night.

It was a beautiful 70 degrees at first pitch as the Crusaders held their senior night ceremony for Cian Bloom and Daniel Young.

Seven Rivers did not hold back and got to work at the plate in the first inning when Timothy Nott and Nate Tidwell reached base via a walk. After Hayden Pillsbury was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Mikey Lemar socked a single to left field to drive in two runs and give the Warriors the lead.

A bases-loaded walk by Logan Moore drove in the third run. The Warriors batted around in the top of the first and their nine-run inning was capped off with a two-run double by Palmer Looper.

Ocala Christian hitters Julieus Phillips, Amari Gordan and William Hicks were struck out in order by Pillsbury, the starting pitcher for Seven Rivers.

Seven Rivers offense continued to be a menace in the top of second as Moore picked up his second RBI on a single to left. Looper and Nott both drove in a run with a single and walk before Tidwell cleared the bases with a three-run double down the left field line to extend the lead to 16-0.

Haddon Sullivan came on to pitch the bottom of the second for Seven Rivers. Sullivan allowed a leadoff walk to Skyler Forella before inducing a double play and striking out Cooper Gloege to end the inning.

Seven Rivers poured in five more runs in the top of third on base hits from Nott, Lemar and Sullivan. Sophomore Trey Sheffield avoided trouble after hitting two batters to seal the win for Seven Rivers.

It was a group effort for Seven Rivers as all nine starters collected at least one hit and one run scored. Tidwell drove in three runs and scored three times while Looper picked up two runs batted in and three runs scored.

“We just came out and played well, threw strikes and put forth a great effort,” Seven Rivers head coach Eddie Looper said.

Tuesday’s win put the Warriors over .500 and wanting more with the SSAC (Sunshine State Athletic Conference) tournament on deck this weekend.

“It’s at our place and we just want to keep moving forward by playing good baseball and hopefully peaking at the end of the season by getting our hitting, pitching and fielding going on a good note,” Looper added.

For Ocala Christian head coach Ron Carpenter (who earned his 300th career win at OCA on March 21st), the struggles from Tuesday’s loss will be a lesson for a young team that features three sophomores, two freshman, three eighth graders and three seventh graders.

“They’re young and they are learning that they will get better. They are putting in the effort, enjoying the game and sticking together by encouraging one another,” Carpenter said.

“As a coach, my job is to teach them the game and that you can improve. They will grow together and start getting wins with experience,” Carpenter added.

Seven Rivers will be back in action at the SSAC tournament on Friday against Zephyrhills Christian Academy. Ocala Christian return to the diamond on Thursday when they host Real Life Christian Academy at 6 p.m.

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