The Auburn Mountainview Lions were sent home by their crosstown rivals Auburn Riverside on the baseball diamond May 10 in an 11-3 victory for the Ravens.
“I feel proud of my guys. They showed up ready to go,” said Ravens Coach Brad Comstock.
These two teams are rivals to the highest degree, and because Comstock started his coaching career with the Lions, his players knew what this game meant to him.
“They probably wanted it more than I did and I wanted it a lot. I love Brice (McCulloch). I’ve coached a lot of games on this field. I know I wanted it and the kids could feel that and they wanted it too,” Comstock said.
In the regular season, the Lions swept the Ravens in both games, winning 3-2 and 4-2 over the Ravens. It took just one inning for Riverside to surpass their run total in both games against the Lions this season.
“We are pumped. They took two close games from us in the regular season. But we came out with a lot of energy, especially from last night, and took advantage early,” Cade Huffman said.
A big storyline for the Ravens after the game: the two true freshmen, Kaeden Morgan and Cameron Bain, who tossed all seven innings for Coach Comstock and the Ravens. Under that spotlight, with that pressure, the young guns delivered. The freshmen didn’t allow an extra base hit all game from the Lions and limited them to just four singles after the third inning.
“They’re cold-blooded, die-hard baseball guys. I love it, they’re clutch and don’t let the moment get too big for them,” Comstock said.
Another player who delivered was Cade Huffman, the Ravens’ catcher. For the second consecutive night, Huffman had a multi-RBI hit, and they were his second and third RBI of the night. Being in pressure-packed situations is something he’s grown more accustomed to: “I’ve been in them a lot, I’m just becoming more confident in them … I think I really have that spark in me,” Huffman said.
Offensively for the Lions, they got all three of their runs in the second inning. Emilio Feliciano had the big hit for Auburn Mountainview, scoring two runs. Feliciano scored on a balk, which was actually the third balk of the game in just the second inning, tying the game 3-3.
The Ravens immediately responded in the top of the third with a five run inning. Cole Foster scored Andrew Shrader, who singled to break the 3-3 tie. Thaddeus Dela Cruz extended the lead and put the Ravens up 5-3 with a single with one out. Carson Rhooms broke the game open with a two run double and the Ravens never looked back.
Huffman was the final run of the game in the seventh — he reached on a single, his third hit of the day. Shrader drove him in for the Ravens’ 11-3 lead.
Huffman had been scuffling coming into the playoffs and Comstock talked with him about the postseason.
“It would appear that he has the clutch gene. He had struggled down the stretch. We had talked about teams that make deep runs and have players get hot that haven’t been hitting too well. We’re a different team when Cade Huffman is hot,” Comstock said.
The Ravens play Bainbridge in a winner-to-state game, a place the Ravens haven’t been since 2015.
“Hopefully we’ll come out and execute and we will be just fine,” Comstock said.
The game against Bainbridge is on May 13 with the first pitch at 11 a.m. “I think we’re really close. We just have to put it all together and go out on Saturday and compete and dominate,” Huffman said.