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Raiders fall short in eventful ninth inning

BONNE TERRE — North County charged back with four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday, but visiting Hillsboro survived for a 7-6 victory after scoring five times in the top half.

Raiders starter Drew Rhodes was perfect through 4 1/3 innings and tallied six strikeouts before departing in the ninth. The Hawks put their first three batters on base before breaking a 2-2 deadlock.

Six straight North County hitters reached safely with one out in response. RBI singles by Kaleb Warden and Garrett Coffman brought the Raiders within 7-5, and senior Ryan Gibson followed with a sacrifice fly.

The contest ended on an infield pop-up with runners at the corners, as Brian Perez recorded the save behind reliever Josh Gratton.

Ricky Knight and Nick Keating picked up two hits each for Hillsboro, which grabbed a 2-1 lead on three doubles in the fifth.

Jon Stabenow powered the North County offense by going 4-for-5 with three stolen bases, and scored from second on a throwing error to produce the tying run in the fifth.

Warden and Coffman each finished 2-for-4, and Justin Ruby added an early RBI double for the Raiders (8-6). Levi Moss contributed a single and bases-loaded walk for his RBI.

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