Home Local Sports Rally attempt by Raiders unsuccessful against Blue Devils

Rally attempt by Raiders unsuccessful against Blue Devils

Junior Jason Walker connects on his two-RBI single to left field during Saturday's home game. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The comeback train powered up for the Richmond Raider baseball team Saturday, but ran out of steam before completing the job.

During the program’s inaugural Alumni Day, the Raiders chipped away at Mooresville High School, but lost 7-3.

Trailing from the top of the first inning, Richmond cut its deficit to two runs, 5-3, in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Blue Devils added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.

Head coach Eric Brown acknowledged that part of the building process and continued growth of the program will see results like Saturday’s.

“Today was just part of the deal,” Brown said. “We’re going to experience growing pains during our building process. The guys have to learn how to take what we’re teaching them and use that in games.

“They also need to learn how to win and learn what it means to be a champion,” he continued. “We are early in that process, but all things considered, I think we’ve had good results so far.”

Sophomore Evan Hodges made the start for the Raiders. He allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits through five innings of work, while also striking out four batters.

Making his second relief appearance in as many days, junior Jeremiah Ritter closed the final two frames. His line was two unearned runs on one hit with a strikeout.

A leadoff double for Mooresville (4-15) in the top of the first led to its first run, which came on a passed ball. An error in the top of the third inning yielded the Blue Devils’ second run.

The Raiders’ bats peppered the field with balls in play off starter Noah Hildebran (six and one-third innings, seven hits, three earned runs), but many couldn’t find open space.

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Hodges led off the bottom of the fourth inning by reaching safely on a hit-by-pitch and was replaced by senior courtesy runner Marquan Martin. Senior Isaac Hinshaw singled and both runners swiped the next bag to get into scoring position.

Senior James Eason made it a 2-1 deficit when he hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Martin turned on the jets and slid under the tag to score.

The Raiders ended the potential big inning by getting the last two outs on the basepaths.

With two outs in the next half inning, a walk, a two-RBI double and an RBI single moved Mooresville’s lead to 5-1.

Junior Jason Walker pulled Richmond within two runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Martin and Eason on second and third, respectively, Walker barreled up a two-out, two-RBI base hit on a line drive to left field.

Richmond’s deficit grew to four runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI single and a passed ball.

The Raiders managed to get their first two batters on base to leadoff the home half of the final frame, singles by Ritter and junior Landon Taylor, but the lineup went down in order after that.

As a team, Richmond swatted seven hits — all singles. Hinshaw and junior Riley Brown each had two hits. Taylor, Walker and Ritter had the others.

Up next for Richmond (10-7) will be a non-conference game at South Mecklenburg High School (14-3). First pitch is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. 

Sports editor’s note: The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Saturday’s home game soon.