Perhaps the Crowder Roughriders have the competition right where they want them. Since dropping from No. 1 to No. 6 in the nation this week, all the Roughriders have done since is win.
They grabbed two more victories on Sunday in sweeping a four game series from Region 16 opponent Three Rivers. Crowder won game one 6-2 and game two 6-0 behind solid pitching, timely hitting, and good defense.
Those wins, more importantly, ensure the Roughriders (42-10, 25-3 Region 16) have secured the No. 1 seed for the Region 16 Tournament on May 8-12 in Farmington, Mo.
“That’s a big deal especially this year because everybody’s got (good pitching) and you want to put yourself in the best position with lower seeded teams on your side,” Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said. “Don’t get me wrong, those lower seeded teams are still quality teams there, but seeing them beating up on each other is good.”
The Raiders scored their only runs of the day in the top of the first inning in game one when cleanup hitter Garret Stockton connected on a two-run homer. Crowder starter Chris Caudle, the NJCAA Division I leader in wins, settled quickly, however, and held the Pirates scoreless over the next five innings and finished with seven strikeouts, no walks and two hits in six innings of work. Caudle pushed his season record to 11-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 16 appearances. Reliever Andrew Schwaab struck out the side in order in the seventh.
The Roughriders didn’t get on the board until the third inning when they plated a run on a Matt Burgess double to make it 2-1. They went on to add two in the fifth on a two-run double by Tony Sandifer to take a 3-2 lead, before pushing across three more in the sixth to help put it away.
Things went even better for the Roughriders in game two as they scored two runs in each of the first, second and fourth innings and cruised behind a combined three-hitter by four different pitchers.
Starter Jon Woodcock improved his record to 7-1 on the season and dropped his ERA to 2.14 with five innings of three-hit ball. Woodcock struck out five and walked none, further pushing his season numbers to an eye-popping 108 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 75 2/3 innings while holding opponents to just 51 hits this season.
“I think this is the first time we’ve put everything together in a weekend,” Lallemand said. “Pitching, defense, offense and baserunning was all there. There were some miscues, but they were aggressive miscues — the same aggressive things that got us into some good positions.”
Chris Caudle led the team with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored in game one. Sandifer had two hits and drove in two runs and Ryan Lazo also had two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Matt Burgess had a hit and two RBIs, while Cody Althouse, C.J. Webster and Sam May also had a hit apiece.
Page 2 of 2 - Ty White led off in game two and went 3 for 3 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Feddersen had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Mak Monckton had two hits, while Sandifer, Webster and Ashton Roberts had a hit each. Webster had two RBIs and Sandifer doubled.
“It was just a great weekend,” Lallemand added. “We started a bunch of sophomores in game four and went out and got a 6-0 win. That was awesome. We had a lot of loud outs this weekend, and we did it against good pitching.”
The Roughriders were scheduled to play at home on Monday against Neosho County, but that game was switched to today at 2 p.m. in one nine inning affair at Roughrider Field.