The Sunnyvale Raiders edged Paradise 1-0 in seven innings Thursday at Ponder, winning the first of three games that will decide the area championship.
Sunnyvale’s Wesley Phillips sent the ball over the left field fence in the fourth inning to provide the only score of the well-pitched game.
The game came down to a pitchers’ duel with Raiders lefthander Jake Wilcox tossing a shutout while striking out 11 batters. Panther hurler Dillon Meadows was almost as good, striking out 10 but allowing the home run that made the difference.
Meadows only allowed half as many baserunners as Wilcox. Paradise was able to get several runners as far as third but could not get them home.
Paradise coach Mike Fehler said they were hitting the ball, but kept popping them up at the worst times.
“It hurt,” he said. “We had a few opportunities out there and didn’t execute when we needed to. A fly ball is catchable.”
Fehler said he had been prepping the team to face Sunnyvale’s left-handed pitcher all week. He said these pitching battles are the types of games he likes to play.
“He pitched a good game and kept us off-balance a bit, and that’s why we kept popping it up,” Fehler said.