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Thursday, 11 July 2019 22:21

JV Rattlers draw 14 walks in four-inning win over Pinecrest

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Caleb Talton (35) tags a runner out at the plate during Thursday's 15-9 win over Pinecrest. Caleb Talton (35) tags a runner out at the plate during Thursday's 15-9 win over Pinecrest. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — The strike zone was hard to find during Thursday’s matchup between the junior varsity Richmond Rattlers and the visiting Pinecrest Pines, but Richmond found a way to use that to its advantage.

Picking up Wednesday’s rain out in the top of the first inning with a runner on first and one out, the Rattlers would defeat Pinecrest 15-9 in four innings due to reaching the maximum time limit. The win marked the second-straight victory for Richmond, giving the team its first sweep of the summer season.

The two ball clubs combined to walk 25 batters in the game (14 by Pinecrest), with rising sophomore pitchers Caleb Talton and Matthew Walker splitting the duties on the mound. Both left handers, Talton started the game and tossed 1.2 innings and allowed four runs on one hit, while Walker closed out the final 2.1 innings, giving up five runs on four hits.

Talton got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning, and the Richmond batters’ patience came through to hang seven runs up in the home half of the inning. The Rattlers drew six of their 14 walks in the first inning, seeing sophomore Jude Howard draw the only bases-loaded walk in the frame.

Leading off with back-to-back walks were Talton and sophomore Chandler Orr, and Talton scored the first run of the game on a passed ball. Orr crossed home on Howard’s walk, and sophomore Dexter Mabe laced an RBI single in the next at-bat to right field, scoring Walker (bunt single).

Rising freshman Ethan Locklear kept the inning going with an RBI on a 4-3 fielder’s choice, and a throwing error on a Brycen Goodwin ground ball let Mabe trot home. The final run of the inning came when freshman Thomas Lampley beat out an infield single, scoring Goodwin.

Pinecrest answered with seven runs of its own in the second, using six walks and an RBI single to tie the game.

Richmond broke the game open in the bottom of the second, scoring five more runs to take a 12-7 lead. Orr and Walker led off the inning with walks and moved into scoring position thanks to an Ethan Clayton sacrifice bunt. The pair of runners came home when Howard roped a two-RBI single to left field, and he advanced to second on the throw.

Singles by Mabe and Locklear loaded the bases for Goodwin, who laid down a bunt, scoring Howard when an errant throw to the plate sailed to the backstop. With the bases still full of Rattlers, Mabe and Locklear would score on a passed ball and a wild pitch, respectively.

Walker stranded a pair of runners on base in the top of the third to preserve the lead, and Pinecrest’s pitcher started the bottom half with a trio of walks. That set up Clayton for a one-out  RBI single to left field, and Howard recorded his fourth RBI on a sac fly to center. Mabe capped the scoring when he reached on a throwing error at short, plating Orr.

The Pines added two runs in the top of the fourth, but it was too little, too late. Howard finished with a game-high four RBIs, while Goodwin had two of his own. Mabe led the club with two hits, and Orr scored a team-high three runs.

Now 4-5 in Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League play, the JV Rattlers will host Union Pines on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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