Home Local Sports Red Rams upset Rockingham in baseball county championship

Red Rams upset Rockingham in baseball county championship

The 2020-21 conference champion Red Rams baseball team.
Contributed photo by Bryce Dixon.

ROCKINGHAM — A three-run first inning was enough to help the Hamlet Red Ram baseball team win the 2021 county championship on Monday.

The No. 2 seeded Red Rams upset rival and No. 1 seeded Rockingham Middle School 5-2 to complete the shortened spring season. 

It was also the first time this spring the Red Rams and head coach Bryce Dixon defeated the Rockets, having lost the previous two regular-season games to Rockingham and head coach Jamie McDonald.

“We went 3-2, losing twice to Rockingham in the regular season,” Dixon explained. “We had some late comeback attempts that did not fall in our favor, but we learned from our mistakes and capitalized when it really counted. 

“Considering the situation of the season, we faced many obstacles — especially injuries — but these boys showed resiliency in their efforts, in which I am very proud,” he added. “It was a rocky start, but the eighth graders stepped up when they needed to and guided us through a positive season.” 

Jason Walker pitched a complete game for Hamlet, allowing just two earned runs on five hits. He also struck out 10 batters and walked one Rocket.

Rockingham’s Gray Maultsby started on the mound, going 1.2 innings and gave up four runs (one earned) on three hits. He also struck out three batters.

Landon Taylor pitched 5.1 innings of relief for the Rockets. He allowed just one run on four hits and added nine strikeouts to his line.

With one out in the top of the first, Allen Taylor singled to center and recorded an RBI when Drew Gause (walk) scored. 

Allen Taylor would later score in the inning and Walker scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0 Hamlet.

Walker helped his cause with an RBI single to center in the top of the second, plating Jabari Douglas, who singled two at-bats earlier.

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Trailing 4-0 to start the bottom of the fourth, Rockingham scored its first run. With runners on the corners, Jeremiah Ritter grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base, which saw Riley Brown (walk) race home to cut into the deficit.

Douglas added an insurance run in the top of the sixth with two outs, singling to left field to score Isiah Malloy (double).

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, the Rockets tried to rally back for the win. Maultsby singled to left, followed by a Jason Gainey double to put runners at second and third.

Conner Phifer delivered in the next at-bat with an RBI single to center to get Maultsby home safely. 

Walker ended the two-on, one-out threat with a fly ball out and his final strikeout to clinch the championship for the Red Rams.

Douglas and Allen Taylor each had two hits and one RBI for the Red Rams, while Walker added a hit and an RBI. Collecting the final of Hamlet’s seven hits were Malloy and A.J. James. Five different Red Rams scored a run.

Landon Taylor led Rockingham with two hits, while Gainey, Maultsby and Phifer each added one. Phifer and Ritter both had a solo RBI and Brown and Maultsby accounted for the two runs scored.

“To say that I am proud of these guys is an understatement,” Dixon closed. “I hope my boys have learned as much from this season as I have, and I look forward to next season and the opportunity that is in store for HMS baseball. 

“To my eighth graders — the future for Raider Baseball is bright, keep working hard. Go Red Rams.”

Hamlet has won several in-county championships this school year, including: football, boys’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball and softball.

Note: The Richmond Observer will publish a story on the Hamlet softball team’s championship win over Rockingham soon.