By Rob Kiser
RUSSIA — The Russia baseball season started the way the Raiders were hoping.
While Piqua was hoping for something more in a 12-5 loss to Russia Saturday at Russia High School.
Piqua had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, before the Raiders answered with eight unanswered runs and Russia led the rest of the way.
Cory Cottrell had started the game with a single.
He stole second, moved to third on Noah Lyman’s ground out and scored on Travis Smith’s sacrifice fly.
Piqua would then load the bases on a walk, single by Derek Hite and hit batter, before Russia started Bryant McCarty got out of the jam and would hold the Indians scoreless into the sixth inning.
Russia would tie the game in the home first, due to some shaky Piqua defense.
Connor Monnin and Zach Sherman both reached on errors.
Jonah Counts would single Monnin in with one out and single by Hunter Cohee loaded the bases.
But, Piqua starter Smith got a ground back back to him, which he turned into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning — going from Smith to catcher Ethan Garland to first baseman Hite.
Both pitchers settled in after that, with Smith recording five strikeouts combined in the second and third innings.
Russia would take the lead for good in the fourth.
Counts and Cohee started the inning with two singles.
With one-out, Kevin Drees launched a two-run double to make it 3-1.
Hite took over on the mound in the fifth and Russia was able to plate five runs on just two hits to make it 8-1.
The inning started with a bunt singles and an error. Following a hit batter, Cohee drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run.
With one out, Drees again swung the big stick with a three-run double and he would come around to score on a wild pitch.
Piqua showed some fight in the sixth, scoring four runs, with Russia using three pitchers in the inning.
With one out, Garland walked and Rupert Delacruz singled, bringing in Drew Sherman to pitch.
Cotrell walked, Lyman had a RBI single and Smith followed with a two-run single, making it 8-4 and bringing Zach Sherman in to pitch.
Gullett had a RBI single to make it 8-5, before Sherman got a fly out and strikeout to end the rally.
Russia got those runs back in the home sixth, with Dakota Iddings taking over the pitching duties for Piqua.
Monnin started things with a walk and Zach Sherman had a RBI double.
Sherman would come around to score on a wild pitch.
Drew Sherman, who was hit by a pitch, would come around to score on a wild pitch and Counts, who reached on a fielder’s choice, would score on McCarty’s single to make it 12-5.
Zach Sherman then set Piqua down in order to end the game.
Smith allowed just five hits in four innings of work and had seven strikeouts.
He combined with Hite and Iddings on a 10-hitter.
McCarty and the two Shermans combined on a seven-hitter, combining for four strikeouts.
Piqua will play Fairborn Monday at Wright State University, while Russia will play at Minster Tuesday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.