RAEFORD — The Lady Raider junior varsity softball team returned to the field Monday after nearly a two-week break.
On the road at Hoke County High School, the JV Lady Raiders used a shutout from sophomore pitcher Sydney Smith to earn a 4-0 win.
The game went final after five innings due to the Sandhills Athletic Conference’s time limit, but Smith collected nine strikeouts and allowed only two hits to earn her third win of the spring.
“Sydney pitched a great game and she threw her screwball really well,” head coach Jordan Fortune said. “Her form was really good, and it was her best game this season.
“It had been a while since we played, and the break was nice, but we came back and shook off some mistakes we made. That’s something we’ve been really trying to work on.”
After stranding two runners on base to open the game, the Lady Raiders scored two runs in the top of the second. With Ashton Alexander (error) at second and Christi Jacobs at first (fielder’s choice), freshman Erin Fields plated Alexander with an RBI single to center field.
Jacobs moved to third on the play, and trotted home safely two batters later when Addy Hollingsworth drew a bases-loaded walk.
With a 2-0 lead, Smith allowed two base runners in the home half of the second, but escaped with her final of three Ks in the frame to keep Hoke County off the board.
Two walks and an error loaded the bases for the Lady Bucks in the bottom of the third, but again Smith recorded another punch out with the bases loaded to get out of the jam.
Sophomore pitcher Sydney Smith prepares to throw a pitch during her shutout win on Monday.
Jacobs led off the top of the fourth by reaching on a hit-by-pitch, and later moved to second on a wild pitch. Hollingsworth delivered with an RBI single up the middle, allowing Jacobs to race home to make it 3-0.
Richmond’s final run came in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Kady Harris. Sophomore Chaslie Holden was hit by a pitch to start the inning, moved to third on a Smith single, and beat the play at the plate when Harris bunted the ball back to the pitcher.
The Lady Raiders had five hits in the win, two coming from Hollingsworth, who also had a game-high two RBIs. Fields, Holden and Smith accounted for the other three hits, and both Harris and Fields collected a solo RBI.
“We hit the ball, not as well as I would have liked, but we put it in play,” Fortune closed. “And that helped us get runners on to score. We had a lot of opportunities to score more runs, and we tried to be aggressive on the bases.
“Now we are looking to keep things going with our next game and hopefully we can get another win.”
Now 4-1-1 on the spring, the Lady Raiders will return home to face Lumberton High School on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.