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Hudson junior Alex Barnard looks to escape from a rundown between third base and home after being caught off third on a hard hit ground ball to third off the bat of Isaiah Grancorvitz in the bottom of the fourth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against Rice Lake last Tuesday. Barnard stayed in the rundown long enough for Grancorvitz to get all the way to second base and the Raiders scored three runs in the inning on their way to a 4-1 victory. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Bob Burrows)

Raiders keep title hopes alive

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The Raider baseball team kept its hopes of defending its Big Rivers Conference title alive with three conference wins last week, including a 3-0 shutout over preseason favorite Eau Claire Memorial on the road on Friday.

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The Raiders opened the week by sweeping doubleheader from Rice Lake, 4-1 and 8-1, last Tuesday at Grandview Park.

The three wins give the Raiders a record of 6-2 in BRC play (8-7 overall), one-half game behind second place River Falls and three games behind Eau Claire North with four conference games remaining. Hudson hosted Chippewa Falls (3-4, 4-6) in a doubleheader this past Tuesday after press time and will visit River Falls (7-2, 14-2) this Friday, May 23, for a 5 p.m. start before finishing conference play at home against Eau Claire North (9-0, 14-3), Tuesday, May 27.

Last Friday at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Cody Hepfler and Hunter Frey combined on a six-hit shutout and the Raiders made the most of their four hits to complete a season sweep of the Old Abes with a 3-0 victory.

The Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first without getting a ball out of the infield. Jake Giordana reached on an error to lead off the inning and Miles Lewis beat out an infield single to third before a walk to Frey loaded the bases. Jack Koski followed with a walk to force in Giordana with the only run the Raiders would need.

Memorial had a runner on second with two outs in the bottom of the inning but Lewis made a diving grab of a sinking liner in right field to end the inning.

The Raiders got another unearned run in the fourth when Carter Elliott singled and later scored on an error. A sacrifice fly by Lewis in the seventh plated Giordana with the team’s final run.

Hepfler struck out three in the first three innings before giving way to Frey, who fanned five Old Abes over the final four innings to preserve the shutout.

Last Tuesday at home against Rice Lake, Sam Glade allowed just two hits and struck out seven in six innings in the opener, and Bryce DuCharme went 6-for-8 on the day with three RBI and stole a pair of bases as the Raiders swept the Warriors, 4-1 and 8-1.

Alex Barnard had an RBI single and Elliott and Isaiah Grancorvitz both scored on wild pitches to stake the Raiders to a 3-0, fourth inning lead in the opener. An RI single by Giordana in the sixth made it a 4-1 game.

Glade worked the first six innings to earn the win before Frey retired the Warriors in order in the seventh to pick up the save.

Hudson scored seven runs in the second inning of the nightcap, all with two outs, on its way to an 8-1 victory.

Lewis was 3-for-4 with an RBI double and DuCharme had two hits and three RBI while Barnard was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Elliott and Ian Hutchinson combined to strike out six batters while allowing six hits and one earned run. Elliott earned the victory in four innings of work.

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Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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