Opening day.

      And Monday, May 20, against visiting Washington High School, a team from the Southeast conference in Washington County, was it.

      “Already from where we were last year to now, we are in a much better place,” McCray said. “Our kids are working hard, and we have a lot of talent this year.”

      After a 2018 campaign of learning and getting an extremely young squad acclimated to life at the varsity level, and an off-season spend on skills work, McCray couldn’t wait to see his team in action again.

      Things didn’t go exactly as planned though.

      “There were not a lot of positives for this game,” said McCray, as his team was handed a 15-0 setback against the Demons in the first game of the season-opening doubleheader.

      “We need to start throwing first-pitch strikes and we did not do that in this game. Our bats were very cold, we were not taking great swings and we did not put ourselves in a good position to compete.”

      Raider bats were held hitless in the five-inning contest while Washington plated three runs in the first inning followed by two in the second, fourth and fifth frames.

      Anamosa (0-3) bounced back in a big way in the nightcap, however.

      “This game was a heartbreaker,” said McCray, as his team was edged in a thrilling 4-3 final.

      “We were up the whole game and then in the seventh inning ended up losing the lead. Nolan McLean threw absolutely lights out with 12 strikeouts and only allowed one earned run. I was a lot happier with how we played in this game, other than that seventh inning.”

      The Raiders scored twice in the second inning as Eli Lehrman and Alex Shover crossed the plate.

      The hosts added a single run in the fifth when Walker Marsh singled, stole second and third and then scored on a Lehrman RBI single.

      Washington had the final say however, rallying in their final at-bat to score four runs for the win.

      Anamosa came back Thursday, May 23, and in a game just added to the schedule against visiting Clear Creek-Amana, were handed a 9-1 defeat.

      “The score does not reflect how we played in this game,” McCray said. “Trae Klatt pitched an awesome game, but our bats were not able to help him out very much.”

      The Clippers plated five second inning runs before Anamosa settled down and didn’t allow another run until the sixth.

      The hosts plated a run in the bottom of the seventh when McLean ripped a double and came around to score thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Jake Jess.

      Klatt worked six innings on the mound and fanned six Clear Creek-Amana batters.

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