FAYETTEVILLE — A comeback effort by the Richmond Raider baseball team on Monday helped it stay in the winner’s bracket at Terry Sanford High School.
Playing in the opening round of the Easter Invitational hosted by the Bulldogs, the Raiders erased a three-run deficit to earn a 6-5 win over Wayne Country Day High School.
Outscoring the Chargers 5-1 in the final two and a half innings, the Raiders used the bat of junior Isaac Hinshaw to do the damage. Going 3-for-4 on the day with two extra base hits, including a homer, Hinshaw drove in a game-high five runs batted in.
Doing the work on the mound for the Raiders was senior Ethan Locklear, who pitched 6.1 innings before reaching the pitch count. He allowed five runs on six hits and struck out seven batters.
In his outing, Locklear retired the Chargers in order in the first, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, faced just four batters in the fourth and sat Wayne Country Day down in order again in the sixth.
Junior James Eason closed out the final two-thirds of the seventh to send the Raiders to the semifinal game.
“We had some really strong pitching from Ethan today,” head coach Rob Ransom said. “And it was a big game at the plate for Isaac, who had five RBI and a three-run homer in the fifth.
“James and Isaac both came up with a timely hit in the sixth inning (to break the tie).”
Hinshaw, who notched a single-game career-high in RBI, started the scoring in the home half of the first off starter Colin Woolard (4.2 IP, four runs, seven hits). With two away, Hinshaw shot the ball back up the middle for an RBI single, plating senior Ethan Clayton (walk).
Despite loading the bases with the next two batters, the Raiders couldn’t extend their opening inning lead.
The Chargers used a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt in the top of the second to tie the game. After Locklear and Woolard traded scoreless frames, a three-run top of the fourth gave Wayne Country Day a 4-1 lead.
Accounting for those runs were a passed ball and a two-run home run by Everett Johnson.
Answering the call in the bottom of the fifth, the Raiders started their rally with a pair of singles from junior Camron Seagraves and Clayton to put two runners on.
With one away, Hinshaw dug in and belted Woolard’s second offering over the right field fence for a three-run blast, his first career varsity homer.
A hit-by-pitch in the next at bat saw Braeden Collins(1.1 IP, two runs, three hits) enter on the mound for the Chargers. Richmond again loaded the bases but couldn’t break the 4-4 tie before the inning ended.
Locklear was dialed in during the top of the sixth, throwing just seven pitches to get the Raiders back in the dugout. He had a pair of one-pitch pop outs, followed by a strikeout.
With the top of the order starting the bottom half, Seagraves beat out an infield single and stole second to get into scoring position. Two batters later, Eason found the gap in center field for an RBI double to score Seagraves.
Capping his big day at the plate, Hinshaw traded places with Eason three pitches later, slicing an RBI double to the corner in right to give the Raiders a 6-4 cushion.
The Chargers (11-7) used a single, an error and a walk to load the bases in the top of the seventh and scored a run on a Davis Albert sacrifice fly to center. But a ground ball in the next at-bat by Woolard to Hinshaw at third ended the game.
Six Raiders contributed to the team’s 10 hits — Hinshaw (3), Seagraves (2), senior Ashton Phifer (2), and Clayton, Eason and Locklear each had one hit. Eason had Richmond’s only other RBI.
The Raiders (11-5) will face East Bladen High School (5-8) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday during the Easter Invitational semifinal game.
The Eagles defeated Western Harnett 11-3 in the opening round to set them up with Richmond. The game will be played at Terry Sanford High School.