SOUTHERN PINES — Taking advantage of a couple of early-game miscues coupled with some late-game insurance runs helped the Richmond Rattlers’ junior varsity baseball team slide past Pinecrest on Tuesday.
The Rattlers hit the diamond after a weeklong break, and it was the Pinecrest Pines that came out of the gates rusty. Behind solid pitching performances from rising sophomore Jude Howard and rising freshman Brycen Goodwin, Richmond took the first of the three-game set by a final score of 4-2.
Howard got the nod to start the game and went three innings, and allowed just one earned run on seven hits. Goodwin tossed the final four innings of relief, also allowing just one run over the four frames. Combined, Howard and Goodwin worked to strand 13 Pinecrest runners on base.
Richmond would take a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning, using two passed balls to plate both runs. Rising sophomore Caleb Talton led off with a walk and fellow rising sophomore Matthew Walker reached base two batters later on a hit-by-pitch.
A 1-3 fielder’s choice by rising freshman Ethan Clayton moved the pair of runners into scoring position, and both Talton and Walker crossed home plate on passed balls later in the inning.
Both teams would play scoreless baseball in the second, although Howard worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam. Pinecrest would score its first run of the game on an one-out RBI single in the bottom of the third to cut Richmond’s lead in half.
Goodwin took over in the fourth, as he also stranded three runners on base to maintain the lead. In the fifth, he sat the Pines’ batters down in order with two fly outs and a ground out.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, the Rattlers used a couple of errors by Pinecrest’s third baseman to add two insurance runs. Rising freshman Shoan Hodges reached safely and advanced to second on an errant throw from third, and he later went to third on a wild pitch.
Talton followed him with a walk and stole second to put runners in scoring position. Rising sophomore Chandler Orr dug in next and slapped a grounder to third and reached on another throwing error. The airmailed throw skipped down the line allowing both Hodges and Talton to score.
Pinecrest wouldn’t go away quietly, as Goodwin gave up a two-out RBI single to make it 4-2. Again, he loaded the bases but worked himself out of a jam thanks to a 6-3 putout from rising freshman Ethan Locklear at short.
The win moved the Rattlers’ overall record to 3-5 in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League. Richmond will host Pinecrest on Wednesday for the second game of the series, with first pitch slated for 4:30 p.m.