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Sweepin’ the Scots away: Raiders clinch 2nd place in SAC standings with senior night win

Junior Jason Walker fires a pitch during the first inning of his complete game win over Scotland Thursday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The atmosphere at Raider Field was doubly sweet for the Richmond Senior High School baseball team Thursday.

A senior night to remember, the Raiders not only locked in the second-place spot in the Sandhills Athletic Conference standings, they also brought out the brooms against longtime rival Scotland High School.

Clinching Richmond’s first two-game regular-season series sweep over the Fighting Scots since the 2015 season, the Raiders won 4-1.

Prior to first pitch, the Raiders recognized their five senior players — James Eason, Isaac Hinshaw, Cain Hunsucker, Marquan Martin and Zane Searcy.

After losing both ends of the regular season series in each of the past four meetings (2019, 2021-2023), and splitting the set between 2016-2018, the Raiders picked up their second win in three nights over Scotland.

In Tuesday’s 11-6 win, Jason Walker did damage with his bat. Thursday told a different tale as the junior righty recorded a complete game victory on the mound.

Needing just 79 pitches to do the job, Walker mowed through the Scots’ lineup with an effective curveball and a strong defensive performance behind him. Walker allowed one unearned run on four hits, no walks and six strikeouts.

In four of his seven innings of work, Walker retired Scotland’s batters in order.

What hope Scotland (8-10, 5-7 SAC) had of trying to even the series came in the top of the first inning. 

A leadoff single by Dawson Williams saw him move to third on an errant pickoff attempt. An RBI groundout by Kaden Hunsucker plated Williams in the next at-bat to make it 1-0.

Richmond’s lineup only needed the bottom of the second inning to get to starting pitcher Dylan Tilson (five innings, four runs, five hits, two walks) and the Scotland defense.

Sending nine batters to the plate, the Raiders scored all four of their runs on four hits and a pair of Scots’ errors.

Sophomore Caden Nolan drew a leadoff walk, which was followed by a pair of base knocks from sophomore Evan Hodges and Eason to load the bases.

With no outs, freshman Collin Hill hit a ground ball back up the middle that was fielded by the shortstop. Eason broke up the double play attempt by sliding into second safely, forcing an errant throw.

Scoring on the initial ground ball was Nolan, an RBI for Hill, and Martin (running for Hodges) scored on the throwing error to make it 2-1.

With runners on the corners, junior Jabari Douglas laid down a successful safety squeeze in the next at-bat for a bunt single. Racing home was Eason, who slid safely under the tag.

Senior James Eason slides safely across home plate following a bunt single by junior Jabari Douglas. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

The Raiders’ final run of the frame came off the bat of Walker, who helped his cause with an RBI fielder’s choice to short.

Richmond stranded four other base runners throughout the remaining innings, including Hinshaw who had a one-out double down the left field line in the bottom of the fifth.

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Replacing Tilson to start the sixth inning, Robbie Peed threw the final frame for Scotland. 

The Raiders’ defense made several big plays behind Walker throughout the game, starting with an 8-6-3 putout to eliminate a leadoff single in the top of the second. 

Center fielder Jeremiah Ritter threw to Nolan covering second, who caught Peed between first and second. Hinshaw tagged Peed out trying to return to first.

Senior Isaac Hinshaw applies the tag to Robbie Peed to record an out in the second inning. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

In the fourth inning, Nolan fielded a chopper down the third base line and made a running throw to first. Hinshaw caught the ball and tagged Logan Adner out to end the inning and strand a leadoff double.

Eason made a sliding stop and throw behind second base to cap a 1-2-3 top of the fifth and Hodges hosed Garrett Manning trying to swipe second in the next frame to eliminate a base runner.

In the seventh, Walker used a pair of ground ball outs and his final strikeout to Adner to end the game.

Second-place Richmond (12-8, 8-3 SAC) closes out its regular season at home Friday against sixth-place Union Pines High School (10-11, 4-7 SAC). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

JV Raiders close season with loss

A late-game lead on the road didn’t hold up for the Richmond junior varsity baseball team Thursday.

Playing in their final game of the season, the JV Raiders fell 12-2 at Scotland in six innings.

Richmond led 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but the JV Scots scored nine runs in the home half to break the game open. Scotland scored two more runs in the sixth.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fifth, the JV Raiders scored both of their runs. Drew Gause plated a run on a free pass and Keith Cummings darted home on a wild pitch.

Richmond had three hits in the game, all singles. They came from Steve James, Preston Fann and Andrae Streeter.

Pitching for the JV Raiders were Michael Osentowski (four innings), Fann (one inning) and Jake Veach closed it out.

This spring, the JV Raiders and first-year head coach Anthony Hailey went 0-11-1 overall and posted an 0-8-1 record against SAC opponents.