Home Local Sports Clayton’s 2-run homer lifts Raiders past Purnell Swett

Clayton’s 2-run homer lifts Raiders past Purnell Swett

Ethan Clayton (left) is celebrated by teammates following his go-ahead two-run homer on Thursday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

PEMBROKE — Facing a full count with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and the tying run at third base, senior Ethan Clayton did more than just knot the game on Thursday.

On the offering from relief pitcher Camden Hunt, Clayton barreled up a two-run homer to straight away center field, recording the eventual game-winning run.

Clayton’s first long ball of the season helped the Richmond Raider baseball team erase a late-inning deficit and earn a 4-3 win over Purnell Swett High School.

In what head coach Rob Ransom called “a really good high school baseball game,” starting pitchers Camron Seagraves and the Rams’ Keithyn Hunt battled it out for a majority of the game.

Seagraves pitched 5.0 innings and recorded a single-game career-high 13 strikeouts. He allowed just two hits and recorded his first eight outs via the strikeout. Of his 15 total recorded outs, just two of them were made in the field.

The Campbell University verbal commit allowed three runs (two earned) and stranded three runners on base. 

Hunt went 6.2 innings for the Rams (0-2), and gave up four unearned runs on four hits and struck out eight batters.

Junior pitcher Camron Seagraves fires a pitch as rain falls during the fourth inning of Thursday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Registering the win on the mound was junior James Eason, who took over at the start of the bottom of the sixth inning. He struck out two batters, allowed a hit and kept Purnell Swett off the board.

Both teams stranded a runner in scoring position in the first, and it was the Rams who got the scoring started in the bottom of the second.

A one-out walk to Camden Hunt led to the run when he stole third base and used a Richmond throwing error to make it 1-0.

Clayton, who recorded a game-high three runs batted in, tied the game in the top of the third. A leadoff walk to freshman Caden Nolan resulted in a sac bunt by sophomore Landon Taylor to move him to second. 

A passed ball allowed Nolan to third and Clayton hit an RBI groundout to second base to tie the game.


Seagraves followed with a 1-2-3 bottom of the third, collecting two more Ks and catching a pop out along the first base line.

Richmond tried to steal a run in the next half inning with courtesy runner Jeremiah Ritter on third, but a forced run down between first and second saw the runner tagged out before Ritter crossed the plate.

In the bottom of the fourth, Seagraves struck out two more batters and got some defensive help from Clayton and sophomore third baseman Mason Murray. Malachi Gales tried to steal third, but Clayton fired the ball to Mason, who applied the tag.

Sophomore Mason Murray tags out Malachi Gales for the second out in the bottom of the fourth. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

The Rams took a 3-1 lead in the fifth, using a leadoff triple and a walk to put runners on. Seagraves nearly worked out of the jam unharmed with a pair of strikeouts, but a two-out RBI single to right field by Wayden McMillan gave the home team the lead.

Eason took over on the hill and faced just four batters, ending the frame by picking off Camden Hunt at first base.

Richmond scored its final three runs in the top of the seventh, starting with a walk to senior Ethan Locklear and Nolan reaching on an error. 

Locklear moved to third on the miscue and scored to make it a 3-2 deficit when Taylor recorded an RBI groundout to short.

That set up Clayton’s eventual game-winning two-run shot two at-bats later, his second career high school home run.

Closing it out, Eason pitched to four batters in the seventh, striking out two before a fielder’s choice at second secured the win.

Seagraves added two hits, both singles, to his stat line and Locklear also had a base knock.

The Raiders (2-0) open Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Tuesday at Southern Lee High School (0-1), beginning at 7 p.m.

During last season’s three meetings, the Raiders won the second game, which was on the road.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.