Saturday, 17 March 2018 10:26

Pihl's Three-Run Homer Proves Difference Maker in Richmond's 8-5 Win Over Pinecrest

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Gordon Pihl approaches home plate following his monster three-run shot in Friday's 8-5 win over Pinecrest. Gordon Pihl approaches home plate following his monster three-run shot in Friday's 8-5 win over Pinecrest. Photo courtesy of Deon Cranford.

SOUTHERN PINES – When Pinecrest High School’s varsity baseball team travelled to Rockingham to face Richmond on Tuesday, the pitchers from both schools stole the show.  Richmond’s Trey Watkins and Pinecrest’s Nik Pry only gave up a combined five hits in the 1-0 Pinecrest victory that only lasted about 90 minutes.

On Friday evening, it was the batters who took their turn in the spotlight.  The game featured 17 hits by 13 different players, including three home runs.  This time, the Raiders managed to outlast Pinecrest 8-5, avenging their defeat earlier in the week and handing Pinecrest (6-1, 3-1) their first loss of the season.

Richmond’s eight runs are the most that the Raiders have scored against Pinecrest in a single game in over a decade.  The Raiders hit consistently throughout the game, recording hits against four different Patriot pitchers and scoring at least one run in four of the seven innings.

The scoring started in the top of the second inning.  After Watkins drew a one-out walk, Garret Richardson and Drew Loving hit back-to-back singles.  After Braxton Furstein popped it up for out number two, Pinecrest pitcher Garret Clark walked Justin Ingram on just five pitches bring Watkins home for the first score of the game.

Raider pitcher Jonathan Lee then helped his own cause when he brought home Richardson and Loving with a two-out double to put the Raiders ahead 3-0.

With the bases loaded once again in the top of the third, Furstein blasted at line drive straight at Pinecrest third baseman Jordan Moss.  The ball hit Moss’s glove with such force that it bounced straight out and rolled several feet away allowing all runners to advance and scoring Richmond’s fourth run of the game.

In the top of the fourth inning, the game’s first error helped the Raiders extend their lead. Richmond third baseman Garet Weigman launched one so high that Patriot second baseman Bryce Calcutt lost sight of it.  Weigman had rounded first and was on his way to second before the ball finally came down and bounced off of Calcutt’s glove.  Weigman then advanced to third on a Gordon Pihl ground out before sprinting home on a Jake Ransom single to give Richmond a 5-0 advantage.

Calcutt made up for his blunder in the bottom of the fourth when connected on a 0-2 pitch from Lee that sailed over the right field fence.  The two-out, two-run homer cut Richmond’s lead to three and brought the Patriot dugout to life.

The Pinecrest celebration was short lived.  After a scoreless fifth inning, Lee led off the top of the sixth with a single followed by a walk by Weigman.  Then Pihl sent Raider Nation into a frenzy when he sent the first offering from Patriot pitcher Pres Ostert over the left field fence.  The three-run shot gave Richmond’s it’s largest lead of the game at 8-2 and would prove to be the difference maker.

Patriot catcher Austyn Vest scored two for Pinecrest with a homer in the sixth, and Ostert added another run with an RBI-single in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

Lee earned the win on the mound for the Raiders.  He pitched 5.1 innings giving up two runs on three hits and striking out 9 batters. Loving came into the game for Lee in the sixth helping the Raiders to record their final five outs in the win.

The Raiders (5-2, 3-1 SAC) will travel to Jack Britt High School (4-1, 3-1 SAC) on Tuesday evening for game one of a series that will have huge conference position implications.  Game time is scheduled for 7  p.m.