ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School baseball team’s slide to start the 2021 season continued Wednesday at home against Pinecrest High School.
Hosting the Patriots in the opening half of a two-game series this week, the Raiders dropped their third-straight game in a 7-0 decision.
Pinecrest sophomore pitcher Colby Wallace tossed a no-hitter against the Raiders, striking out 11 batters and walking two.
Richmond head coach Rob Ransom said the Raiders knew they’d open their season against some of the tougher competition in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. The second-year coach added he saw some bright spots in the loss, especially with the pitching staff.
“Harley (Honeycutt) pitched well and Jude (Howard) pitched well at the end of the game,” Ransom said. “Will (Dawkins) pitched some good spots for us in the middle innings.
“But we gave up nine hits behind four walks and that resulted in some runs.”
Honeycutt made his second start of the season on the mound and gave up four earned runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings.
The Raiders managed to get three baserunners on, starting with a walk by junior Matthew Walker in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Hunter Hancock drew a walk in the home half of the fifth and junior Alston Johnson reached on an error in the sixth.
Richmond’s bats also made the Patriots defense work behind Wallace, putting 11 balls in play (eight grounders and three fly balls). Honeycutt had a well-struck ball in the third inning, and junior Cameron Way nearly broke up the no-hitter with a line drive out to short in the sixth.
After two scoreless innings by both teams to start the game, Nick DiCarlo plated a run on an RBI groundout in the top of the third. Wallace scored R.J. Sales with a sacrifice fly to center in the next at-bat.
J.D. Scarborough added to the lead with a two-RBI single to right field in the top of the third inning to make it a 4-0 game.
Following Scarborough’s knock, Dawkins entered the game and inherited runners on the corners with one out. He got out of the jam with a punchout against Sales, and fielded a dribbler back to the mound by DiCarlo and threw to first baseman Hunter Hancock for the out.
Dawkins’ line was two runs (one earned) on two hits through 2.1 innings pitched. A fielding error in the top of the fifth resulted in another Pinecrest run.
Freshman Camron Seagraves made an appearance on the mound with two outs in the top of the sixth. A passed ball and a dropped third strike (wild pitch) allowed Pinecrest to score two more runs.
Junior Jude Howard tossed the final inning of the game for the Raiders, facing just four batters and throwing 16 pitches. He collected a ground out, a strikeout and a fly out while also walking a batter.
At the plate, Richmond went down in order four times. Ransom said a combination of poor pitch selection and not getting ahead early resulted in the Raiders being no-hit.
“We didn’t swing the bat early when we needed to, and we chased a lot of pitches out of the strike zone,” Ransom explained. “That led to 11 strikeouts, which is way too many.
“Now we just have to keep working hard in practice,” he closed. “We need to find those good pitches to hit, and I know it sounds boring, but we’re going to keep working on the fundamentals. We’ll get a little better every game, and by the end of the year we’ll be tough to beat.”
The Raiders (0-3 SAC) will complete the two-game set with the Patriots (3-0) with a road game on Friday at 7 p.m.
JV Raiders drop first game of new season at Pinecrest
Richmond’s Ethan Clayton (right) had two hits and an RBI in Wednesday’s loss. (Hannah Hinshaw)
On the road Wednesday, the Richmond junior varsity baseball team “got too complacent” against Pinecrest, according to head coach Corey Wallace.
Despite holding a six-run lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the JV Raiders fell to the JV Patriots 8-7.
Erasing a one-run deficit in the top of the second inning with an RBI single by freshman Damon Bryant, Richmond dotted the scoreboard with two runs in the third, three runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
An RBI double by sophomore Ethan Clayton scored freshman James Eason (fielder’s choice) to start the third, and freshman Isaac Hinshaw followed by reaching on an error, allowing Clayton to cross home.
Bryant delivered again with an RBI knock in the fifth. Sophomore Ethan Locklear scored on a passed ball and freshman Cain Hunsucker laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Bryant, putting Richmond up 6-1.
Eason scored the Raiders’ final run in the top of the sixth, advancing home on a passed ball.
Pinecrest used a six-run bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at seven runs apiece. An RBI double by Zack Wiley scored Ryan Norris to walk it off in the seventh.
Locklear led the Raiders with three hits, including a double, one of Richmond’s four doubles in the game. Bryant and Clayton both had two hits, while Eason, Hinshaw and sophomore Ashton Phifer all had one hit.
Bryant’s two RBIs led the team and Clayton and Hunsucker both brought in one run each.
The JV Raiders (2-1) will return to the diamond on Friday, facing Pinecrest again at home.