Friday, 16 July 2021 00:40

Big first inning helps Renegades complete 3-game sweep of Southern Lee

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Walker Lambeth slides safely into home in the fourth inning of Thursday's mercy-rule win. Walker Lambeth slides safely into home in the fourth inning of Thursday's mercy-rule win. Hannah Hinshaw - Special to The Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Collecting their second consecutive mercy-rule win in as many nights, the Richmond Renegades completed a three-game sweep of Southern Lee on Thursday.

Richmond used nine hits to cruise past Southern Lee 13-2 in five innings, while also notching its fifth straight win in Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League play.

Head coach Rob Ransom said the recent success of his team has been a combination of solid pitching and taking advantage of having runners in scoring position.

“We had another night of good pitching, starting with Colin (Wheeler),” Ransom said. “He made the most out of his start and gave us four really strong innings. Walker (Lambeth) finished the last inning to close it out, and did a good job to keep the mercy-rule intact.”

Wheeler, who usually serves as the Renegades’ catcher, impressed over four innings of work. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out six batters, and faced just four batters in each of the first three innings.

Lambeth took over in the fifth with an 11-run cushion and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam to end the game. He gave up one hit and added two strikeouts.

A fast start in the bottom of the first gave Richmond a 5-0 lead. 

Rising senior Alston Johnson led off with an infield single and stole second. In the next at-bat, rising sophomore James Eason plated Johnson with an RBI single to right field.

Walks to rising seniors Cameron Way and Matthew Walker loaded the bases, and Wheeler helped his cause with an RBI single to right, scoring Eason. A bases-loaded walk to rising junior Ethan Clayton made it 3-0.

Capping the big first inning was rising senior Will Dawkins, who belted a line drive two-RBI single to right field, plating Walker and Wheeler.

Colin Wheeler earned the win on the mound against Southern Lee on Thursday. (Hannah Hinshaw)

“We faced pitching that we should have been able to hit and we did that tonight,” Ransom said. “We took advantage of some good leadoff hits from Alston and James to score five runs in the first, which took the pressure off of us.

“The guys got hits when we needed them,” he continued. “And we’re not leaving runners on base by getting hits with guys in scoring position, which is key.”

Richmond added four more runs in the bottom of the third to take a 9-0 lead. Way collected an RBI single to right, scoring rising junior Jullian Cline (hit-by-pitch) and Johnson (single) scored on a wild pitch.

Way later crossed the plate on a passed ball and Walker stole home to end the inning.

Southern Lee scored its two runs in the top of the fourth, using a passed ball and a sacrifice fly to cut into its deficit.

The Renegades added their final four runs in the home half, starting with an RBI single from rising junior Ashton Phifer, which plated Dawkins (single). 

Rising sophomore Isaac Hinshaw and Lambeth both scored on the same throwing error by the second baseman. Richmond’s final run came with two outs when Phifer stole home.

The Renegades (5-3) close their season next week with two games against Lee County, starting at home on Tuesday at 7 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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