By Ed Greif
CROSSVILLE — Tayler Houston hit and pitched the Jets to a 5-1 victory over the Stone Memorial Panthers Wednesday night to gain a split in their annual home-and-home series at Jet Park.
CCHS 5, SMHS 1: Houston went singled, doubled and homered with one RBI and allowed one unearned run on nine hits with five Ks to record the complete game victory. Matt Ledbetter doubled and homered with two RBIs, while Ethan Cunningham ripped two singles and a triple. Aaron Jones, Cameron O'Rourke and Nathaniel Wyatt each cracked one single. Rayne Bennett was the losing pitcher, allowing four runs on seven hits with one strikeout in one inning of walk, while Austin Robertson pitched five innings allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Jason Moldenhauer, A.J. Tarallo and Gabe Caballero each smashed two hits, while Luke Matthews, Clay Wilson and Sawyer Casey each poked one hit. Houston gave up first inning singles to Matthews and Moldenhauer, but Nathan Greene popped up to O'Rourke at first, who threw a strike to Justin Shipe at third base to get a sliding Matthews to retire the side. Lebetter led off the bottom of the first with a homer to left centerfield for a 1-0 lead, while his teammates tacked on two more runs on singles by Houston, Jones and Cunningham and two fielder's choices for the 3-0 advantage. The Panthers loaded the bases in the top of the second on three singles by Tarallo, Wilson and Casey, but all three were left stranded. The Jets made it 4-0 in the bottom of the second on singles by O'Rourke and Wyatt and a double by Lebetter. Moldenhauer singled with one out in the third, but was thrown out trying to steal home plate, while Cabellaro singled in the top of the fourth. After stranding two base runners in the bottom of the third, the Jets added a run in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out homer by Houston. Bobby Uebelacker was hit by a pitch, but was stranded when Reed Shaw grounded out to end the inning. Houston retired the side in the fifth, but allowed an unearned run in the sixth when Moldenhauer reached on an error and scored on Tarallo's two-out hit. He was thrown out at the plate on a throw from Ledbetter to O'Rourke to Uebelacker to end the inning attempting score on Cabellaro's hit to centerfield. Robertson allowed a one-out triple to Cunningham in the fifth and a one-out double to Houston in the sixth. Houston retired the side in the seventh to record the victor. SMHS 8, CCHS 7: The Panthers scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to take the victory over the Jets in the first game of the home-and-home series Tuesday evening at SMHS. Panther starting pitcher John Martin retired the first nine Jets in a row, before Matt Ledbetter opened the top of the fourth inning with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double Ethan Cunningham. Reed Shaw reached on a one-out error scoring Cunningham. Aaron Jones singled, with pinch runner Drew Vaden scoring on a double by Tayler Houston. A passed ball and wild pitch played Jones and Houston, respectively, to give the Jets a 5-0 lead. Jason Moldenhauer replaced Martin with one out in the top of the fourth and held the Jets scoreless, allowing just three walks over the next 4 2/3 innings. Jet starter Aaron Jones held the Panthers scoreless over the first five innings, allowing five hits — a single and double by Moldenhauer, a single by Nathan Greene, a single by Gabe Callerbellero and Martin — with five Ks and one walk. The Panthers scored once in the bottom of the sixth on a walk, a single by Callebero and a fielder's choice to slice the deficit to 5-1. The first three Panthers reached in the bottom of the seventh — Luke Matthews singled, Austin Helton was hit by a pitch and Maldenhaure doubled home Matthews and Helton. Matt Ledbetter replaced Jones on the hill and retired the next two hitters, but designated hitter Wayne Burns grounded out to plate another run. A.J. Tarallo then ripped a home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 5-5. Both teams had opportunities in the eighth inning to score. CCHS took a 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth on a single by Jones, a double by Houston, a passed ball, an error, a sacrifice and a fielder's choice. The Panthers scored the winning runs in the bottom of the ninth on a walk, two errors and three singles — Martin, Matthews and Helton, whose plated Sawyer Casey with the winning run. Martin allowed one earned run on four hits with two strikeouts, while Moldenhauer allowed no earned runs on two hits with nine strikeouts and four walks to pick up the win. Moldenhauer had three hits with two RBIs, while Matthews, Cabellero and Martin each poked two hits. For the Jets, Jones allowed four earned runs on eight hits with five Ks and two walks, while Ledbetters yielded one earned run on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks to obsorb the loss. Jones and Houston each had two hits. Schedule: SMHS (5-7) traveled to Rhea County Thurday, weather permitting, to play in the Rhea County Tournament, and will return to District 4AA play Monday at CAK. They will host CAK (April 9), Rockwood (April 11) and Meigs County (April 12). CCHS' game at Walker Valley Thursday was rained out and rescheduled for April 10. Weather permtting, the Jets (5-7) travel to York this afternoon and to Livingston Saturday for a make-up game. They will travel to Coffee County Monday and will the Red Raiders Tuesday for the last time, as Coffee County is leaving District 6AA next school year. Walker Valley visits on April 11.