ROCKINGHAM — Playing at home on Monday, the Richmond junior varsity baseball team closed its season by evening its series with Scotland and claiming the Sandhills Athletic Conference crown.
The JV Raiders earned an 8-1 win thanks to a strong start from sophomore Riley Brown on the mound. He pitched 6.0 innings with three hits, one unearned run and eight strikeouts, while retiring the JV Scots in order in the second, fourth and sixth innings.
Brown also worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third, getting the final out without allowing a run on a fielder’s choice to short.
Fellow sophomore Jason Walker pitched the final frame, striking out the side in order to end it.
The JV Raiders swatted a dozen hits in the win, including two apiece from Brown, Walker and sophomores Jeremiah Ritter and Conner Phifer. Smashing two doubles was Phifer, as Brown and Ritter each had one.
Adding a hit apiece were sophomores Brooks Calhoun, Garret Mabe, Sam Thompson and freshman Evan Hodges.
“It really started with Riley setting the tone and pounding the strike zone early,” head coach Ryan Mercer said. “We were able to get some early runs behind him to make his job a little easier.
“Jeremiah had two big hits for us. And Evan, Conner and Riley came through at the plate. We did all the little things right by getting bunts down, moving runners over and getting timely hits. Jason shutting the door with three punchouts in the seventh was great.”
Richmond scored a run in the bottom of the second, before breaking it open with three runs scored in both the third and fourth frames to take a 7-0 lead.
Scotland got a run in the top of the fifth, but the JV Raiders answered with a run in the home half.
Brown, Calhoun, Mabe and Ritter each recorded one run batted in.
Mabe had an RBI single to right field to start the scoring in the second, scoring Brown who led off with a double.
Ritter roped an RBI double in the third to score Hodges (single) and Brown brought Walker home in the same inning on a base knock to center.
Calhoun made it 7-0 in the fourth with a one-out single to right field, scoring Hodges (walk).
“It was really good to clinch the conference at home in front of our fans and get some revenge after losing at their place last week,” Mercer said.
“This season, the guys showed growth and kept fighting through it. They showed their determination by winning the conference, something we weren’t able to do last year. Hopefully they keep it going throughout their careers.”
The JV Raiders concluded the season with an 11-3-1 overall record, along with an 8-2-1 mark against SAC opponents.