ROCKINGHAM — The Lady Raider softball team started its preseason action against the reigning 1A state champions on Thursday.
Looking for a challenge to prepare for their upcoming 19-game regular season, the Lady Raiders ended the seven-inning scrimmage behind on the scoreboard 5-2.
The teams played two additional exhibition innings, but the score or stats weren’t kept.
A pitchers duel ensued through the opening three innings between senior Quston Leviner and South Stanly’s Riley Dennis.
Leviner sat the Lady Bulls down in order in the first and third frames, and stranded a leadoff single in the second by sitting down the next three batters.
The Lady Raiders left one runner on base in both the second and third innings. Leviner followed with another 1-2-3 frame in the top of the fourth, striking out the side in order.
Senior Makayla Parks led off the home half of the fourth with a double and scored with two outs when sophomore JaKayla Steele roped an RBI double to the wall in left field.
South Stanly took a 3-1 lead in the top half of the fifth when Mattie Polous hit a three-run homer.
Leviner threw 5.0 innings in the scrimmage, finishing with seven strikeouts. She allowed three runs on four hits.
Parks went to the circle and threw two innings of relief. In the top of the sixth, she worked out of a bases-loaded jam by collecting her third strikeout of the inning.
With one out in the bottom half, Leviner recorded Richmond’s final run when she sent a solo homer over the wall in left field.
South Stanly used an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to add its final two runs. Parks finished with four strikeouts and allowed two runs on three hits.
In the two exhibition innings, head coach Mike Way sent sophomore Maddie Pearson out to pitch. She will float between the junior varsity and varsity teams this spring to get more experience.
The Lady Raiders will open their season at home on Tuesday against non-conference Randleman High School. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
The Richmond Observer will publish a full season preview ahead of Tuesday’s game.
Below are photos of Thursday’s scrimmage, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.