Raptors baseball on record pace

By BEN HOOKE

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 05-28-2024 3:27 PM

ORFORD — The clouds that hung around all afternoon finally opened, pouring heavy rain from the sky onto the Orford Recreational Field baseball diamond just minutes after the final out.

It’s not as if Rivendell needed any help in extinguishing top-ranked Woodstock’s offense, though.

The Raptors put on a pitching and fielding clinic to silence Division III’s highest-scoring offense for most of the afternoon and notched enough timely hits to pull away, 6-2, on Monday.

“We did a little bit of everything well today,” said Rivendell coach Eric Reichert. “Pitchers threw strikes, fielders made most of the plays and the hitters got after it early in counts.”

Rivendell ace Will Knowles tossed six shutout innings, allowing his only hits in the first frame and striking out six batters. The junior remains undefeated in finished starts this season, having exited Rivendell’s lone loss to Proctor early with an injury.

Cillian Kennealy led the line for the Raptors at the plate, delivering two well-hit line drives for RBI singles in the first and third innings as the Wasps struggled to get their bearings in the field in the early goings. ‘

Rivendell scored all six of its runs within the first three innings and could have scored more if not for a few exceptional plays from the Woodstock defense. Ben Runstein had the highlight of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth when he made a spectacular leaping catch from second base to deny a Knowles line drive and keep the score where it was.

With Knowles being removed to protect his pitch count, Parker Piper closed the door for the Raptors, overcoming a brief rally in the form of back-to-back errors and a wild pitch that scored two Woodstock runs.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Kenyon: As Claremont woman stepped up for nieces, NH quickly stepped away
New Hampshire's population is increasing, especially in rural areas
Upper Valley has its share of day-drinking destinations
More than 4 million skiers braved Vermont’s weird, wet winter
Lightning strike damages buildings in Canaan
Upper Valley Independence Day celebrations

“Just have to trust my teammates and know that they’ll back me up if I make mistakes,” said Piper.

Rivendell improved to a program-best 14-1 with the win. The Raptors close their season Thursday with a 73-mile trip to Proctor for a chance at revenge against the Phantoms, with the second spot in the upcoming D-IV playoffs already secured.

Woodstock fell to 11-3 with the loss but remained in the top spot in D-III ahead of a Tuesday trip to Green Mountain, a matchup with massive playoff implications on the line.