Thursday, 15 July 2021 23:21

JV Renegades run away late, sweep Southern Lee

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Rising eighth grader Jason Gainey, who had two hits and an RBI, sprints to first following a hit in the fifth inning. Rising eighth grader Jason Gainey, who had two hits and an RBI, sprints to first following a hit in the fifth inning. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.


ROCKINGHAM — A five-run fifth inning propelled the junior varsity Richmond Renegades to their third straight win on Thursday.

Completing the three-game sweep of Southern Lee, Richmond won 8-1.

“We were alive today, which was a big difference from yesterday,” head coach Corey Wallace said. “The guys were talking, had a lot of energy and communicated really well on the field. When we do the little things right, we win baseball games.”

A day after hitting a walk-off single, rising freshman Jason Walker took on the starting pitching responsibility for Richmond. He threw five innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit and striking out five batters.

Walker retired Southern Lee’s batters in order in the first and second innings, and faced just four batters in the third and fourth frames.

Jason Walker fires a pitch during the second inning of Thursday’s win. (Kyle Pillar)

Rising sophomore Cain Hunsucker had a good day at the plate tied for the team-high with two hits, but also made his pitching debut this summer. Trading his catching gear for the mound, Hunsucker threw two innings of relief, giving up one run on two hits and added a strikeout.

“Jason (Walker) came out and threw strikes and I expected him to be around the zone,” Wallace said. “He was consistent and only gave up one hit, which is really good. He had good command of his curveball, which allowed him to get ahead and blow fastballs by hitters.

“Cain will do anything that’s asked of him and he hustles no matter what,” he added. “This is the first time he’s thrown for me and he threw strikes the last two innings.”

Richmond got on the board in the bottom of the second when rising freshman Sam Thompson (hit-by-pitch) scored on a throwing error by the pitcher.

An inning later, rising freshman Jeremiah Ritter (double), who kept his bat hot with two hits, scored following an errant pickoff attempt at third base. Over the last three games, Ritter has had two hits and two runs scored in each game, while plating five total RBIs.

Leading 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Walker (walk) scored on a passed ball with no outs. Rising freshman Brooks Calhoun (walk) crossed home on an RBI single by Ritter to left to make it a four-run lead.

Ritter later scored on a wild pitch, and rising eighth grader Evan Hodges got on base with a line drive single to center, and later stole home when teammate Jabari Douglas (walk) stole second.

With Douglas at third and two outs, fellow rising eighth grader Jason Gainey dug in and roped an RBI single to right field for his second hit of the game to make it a 7-0 advantage.

Cain Hunsucker, who had two doubles on Thursday, takes a lead at second base. (Kyle Pillar)

Adding an insurance run in the sixth, Vance Goodwin recorded an RBI groundout to short, scoring fellow rising sophomore Tyler Graham (hit-by-pitch). Hunsucker added his second double of the game in the inning, but didn’t score.

“Cain and Jason (Gainey) both swung the bat really well today,” Wallace said. “They were aggressive and that’s what I asked them to do. 

“A lot of guys were swinging at the first pitch and at balls across the plate, and that showed on the scoreboard.”

Richmond tallied eight hits in the win, including two each from Gainey, Hunsucker and Ritter. Hodges and Calhoun both added singles. Gainey, Goodwin and Ritter had one RBI apiece.

The JV Renegades (8-3) will begin their final series of the summer on Tuesday at home against Lee County. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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