Home Local Sports Raiders edged by Pinecrest in one-run game

Raiders edged by Pinecrest in one-run game

Senior Alston Johnson hit a solo homer in Friday's game at Pinecrest.
Deon Cranford - The Richmond Observer.

SOUTHERN PINES — The Richmond Raider varsity baseball nearly pulled off a comeback on the road at Pinecrest High School on Friday.

Finishing the season series with the Patriots, the Raiders couldn’t overcome a three-run bottom of the first and lost 4-3.

Making Friday’s contest “more competitive” than their meeting earlier in the week, the Raiders tallied nine hits, including two for extra bases. 

Senior infielder Cameron Way went 3-for-4 at the dish with a double and an RBI, which helped cut the deficit in the sixth inning.

Fellow seniors Alston Johnson and Matthew Walker both collected two hits, with one of Johnson’s serving as a home run. Senior Colin Wheeler and junior Ethan Locklear added a single apiece.

“We played with much better effort tonight and I thought we bounced back and played hard,” head coach Rob Ransom said. “We got hits tonight, hit the ball hard, but left nine baserunners on.

“There were a couple of times we had the bases loaded and just couldn’t take advantage,” he added. “Again, we had too many walks that came back and haunted us. The first inning was the difference in the game.”

In the first at-bat, Johnson dialed up an offering from starter Cam Bunker for a solo home run to left field to give the Raiders an early lead. It was his first long ball of the spring.

Richmond managed to load the bases in the top of the first, but Bunker escaped with one of his eight strikeouts.

The Patriots (6-1, 2-0 SAC) answered with three runs in the home half off starting pitcher Camron Seagraves. A sac fly and two RBI singles put Pinecrest ahead 3-1.

A bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the third proved to be the game-winning run. Junior Walker Lambeth and sophomore James Eason combined to pitch the final 3.1 innings and allowed no runs on five hits.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Richmond tried to rally. The Raiders loaded the bases and Walker (walk) scored on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Cove Mashburn to cut the deficit in half.

Noah Arnett relieved Mashburn and ended Richmond’s threat with a strikeout.

Locklear led off the sixth with an infield single to short and swiped second to get into scoring position. Way came up with two outs and delivered his final hit of the game, an RBI double to the opposite field.

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The Raiders’ efforts came up short when they were retired in order in the top of the seventh.

Richmond (3-3, 0-3 SAC) will go for their first conference win next Tuesday at Hoke County High School (0-8, 0-4 SAC). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

JV Raiders drop both ends of doubleheader with Pinecrest

The Richmond junior varsity baseball team played two five-inning games against Pinecrest on Friday, falling in both games to the JV Patriots.

In game one, the JV Raiders lost 5-0. As a team, Richmond had four hits. Landon Taylor had two singles, and Isaac Hinshaw and Sam Thompson each had a base knock.

Mason Murray, who started on the mound, struck out seven batters in four innings.

The second game resulted in a 6-3 loss, seeing Pinecrest score two runs in the first, second and fourth innings. Richmond had a run in the first, third and fourth frames.

Jason Walker had a hit and two RBIs, Taylor added two more hits and Thompson and Cain Hunsucker both had a single.

Alan Taylor pitched 3.1 innings and recorded six strikeouts on the mound for Richmond.

“In game one, we allowed 11 free bases and a good team will take advantage of that. It showed tonight,” head coach Ryan Mercer said. “I liked the way we showed more fight in game two. The guys had a better approach at the plate. 

“We still had too many free bases. But we have to take these losses and continue to learn. I’ll go to battle with these kids any day. Things are going to turn around for us soon.”

The JV Raiders (2-3, 0-3 SAC) will host Hoke County on Tuesday, beginning at 5 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.