Thursday, 01 October 2020 12:43

'Team unity' set as focus for Raiders during fall training

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Junior pitchers Harley Honeycutt (left) and Cameron Way (right) throw bullpens during Tuesday's workout. Junior pitchers Harley Honeycutt (left) and Cameron Way (right) throw bullpens during Tuesday's workout. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Rob Ransom and the Raider baseball team only played three games last spring before the North Carolina High School Athletic Association stopped play due to the coronavirus.

Now the second year head coach and his players are making up for lost time, as the varsity and junior varsity teams began workouts last week. Ransom, along with assistant coaches Ty Bostick, Ralph Butler and Josh Peele, is hosting voluntary training sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Between the two groups, the Raiders are seeing between 30 and 35 players attend each workout. Per the NCHSAA COVID-19 guidelines, high school teams can have up to 50 people (players and coaches included) at a single event.

Check in at the ballpark consists of Ransom taking temperature checks and players scan a QR code with their cellphones to answer COVID-related questions.

Back on the diamond during Tuesday's varsity workout were rising seniors Hunter Hancock, Tyler Mabe and Michael Pettitt. Richmond’s junior class featured Will Dawkins, Harley Honeycutt, Jude Howard, Alston Johnston, Dexter Mabe, Chandler Orr, Matthew Walker, Cameron Way and Colin Wheeler.

“We have only had a couple of workouts so far, but they are going great,” Ransom said. “It’s been a little bit slow getting going with the (COVID) protocols, but the players and coaches are excited.

“One of the main reasons we wanted to go ahead and start was to get everyone back together,” he added. 

Photo: Coach Rob Ransom (left) addresses senior Hunter Hancock (center) and the varsity players during Tuesday’s workout.

Because of the pandemic, the Raiders missed almost their entire season in the spring. During the summer months, Richmond normally competes in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League as the Rattlers. Again because of restrictions, that season was lost, as well as the recently resurrected American Legion Post 49 team.

The crack of the bat and the pop of baseball’s hitting leather have been welcomed sounds during the last two weeks. 

Players have been getting back in the routine of being on the diamond, taking infield and outfield drills, conditioning and taking swings in the batting cage. Pitchers have also rotated through bullpen sessions.

“Our focus will continue to be on fundamentals and building team unity,” Ransom explained of the fall training. 


“It has been a strange year to say the least. We will just continue to focus on things we can control. If it's one thing I think student-athletes are learning, it’s to not take anything for granted. You never know if you get these opportunities again.”

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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