Saturday, 14 April 2018 22:42

Raiders win eighth-straight game by mercy-ruling Lumberton 11-0

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Garet Weigman (9) finished the night 2-for-3 and had an RBI.  Jake Ransom (23) went 2-for-3 and 2 RBIs. Garet Weigman (9) finished the night 2-for-3 and had an RBI. Jake Ransom (23) went 2-for-3 and 2 RBIs. Photo courtesy of Deon Cranford.

LUMBERTON – If Jonathan Lee’s name comes up whenever Richmond Senior High baseball is being discussed, it’s for a good reason.  The UNC Pembroke-bound pitcher has been a nightmare for his opponents the past few weeks, allowing runs to be scored in only two of the last 25 innings that he has been on the mound. 

On Friday evening, another stellar performance by Lee and the Raider defense resulted in an 11-0 victory over Lumberton High School in five innings.

It was the Raiders’ eighth win in a row, their third shutout victory of the season, and their first-mercy rule win of the year.  Richmond currently has the third longest active winning streak in 4A under Hickory Ridge (10) and Myers Park (nine).

The Raiders also had a big night at the plate.  Richmond’s eight hits combined with five errors by the Pirates helped the Raiders plate at least one run in every inning.

It the top of the first inning, Lee reached on an error.  Jahan Jones came in to run for Lee and advanced all the way to third after a pickoff attempt sailed over the head of Lumberton first baseman Austin Gist.  Jones came home on a passed ball moments later scoring the first run of the game.

After Lee retired the Pirates in order with three strikeouts, the Raiders took advantage of another Lumberton error in the top of the second.  Garet Weigman led off the inning with a single.  A sacrifice bunt by Drew Loving and a groundout by Zach Hinson moved Weigman to third base.

Tyler Bass surprised the Pirates when he dropped a two-out bunt towards Lumberton third baseman Caleb Wilkerson.  Wilkerson chased down the ball and launched an off-balance throw that once again sailed over the head of Gist allowing Weigman come home for the game’s second score.

Lee tallied three more strikeouts in the bottom of the second inning sending the Raiders into the third with a 2-0 lead.

The Raiders added two more runs in the top of the third, but this time without the help of Lumberton miscues.  Alex Anderson and Lee kept Lumberton’s Dakota Sanchez busy when they each lined shots that dropped just out of the Pirate centerfielder’s reach for back-to-back singles.  Anderson came home on a sacrifice fly by Gordon Pihl and then Jones, who was once again running for Lee, came home on an RBI single by Jake Ransom.

The Raiders blew the game wide open in the top of the fourth that started with a play for the highlight reel coming from Bass.  Bass started the inning with a leadoff walk, stole second, and then advanced to third on a Brett Young single.

After Anderson struck out for the first out of the inning, Lee grounded a 2-2 pitch to Lumberton short stop Jordan Smith who scooped up the ball and threw it catcher Johnathan Villa in an attempt catch Bass who was running home.  The throw was in time, but Bass went airborne, not only dodging Villa’s tag, but his leap cleared Villa entirely.  Bass crashed down in the batter’s box on the opposite side of home plate, recovered, and returned to touch the plate while dodging another tag attempt by Villa.

Pihl followed Lee with a two-RBI single that brought home both Young and Jones to extend Richmond’s lead to 7-0.  Richmond then used a Ransom single, a Loving walk, a passed ball, and an error by Lumberton to plate two more runs before Bass, who was on his second at bat in the inning, flew out to center field for the third out.

With a big lead, the fifth inning saw five Raiders come to the plate for the first time.  After Evan Hudson grounded out, Jones was hit by a pitch.  Hunter Parris hit one towards the first baseman that should have been an easy out, but Lumberton elected to go after the lead runner.  The speedy Jones outran the throw to second allowing Parris to reach first safely as well.

The next batter was Cam Carraway, who swung at the first pitch and launched it so high that the three Lumberton players who came together in shallow left field to catch the fly ball completely lost sight of it.  With Carraway already at first, Jones and Parris were forced to stay put until the ball was caught or dropped.  When the ball fell to the ground between the three Pirates, Jones’ bolted towards third base and managed to outrun the throw that came from about 30 feet away loading the bases.

With Ransom at the plate, Jones came home for the fourth time on a passed ball.  However, it was the first time that he was not running for Lee, but for himself.  Parris, who advanced to third on the same passed ball, sprinted home on a sacrifice fly by Ransom for the final score of the game.  Garret Richardson grounded out to end the top of the fifth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Lee ended the game the same way he started it, by striking out three consecutive Pirates.  Lee finished the game with 11 strikeouts and is averaging 8.5 strikeouts per game in his last four appearances.

Richmond (13-5, 6-4) started the night all alone in fifth place in the Sandhills Athletic Conference standings.  They are now tied for fourth and only one game out of second.  The Pirates dropped to 4-11 overall, and 2-8 in conference play.