ROCKINGHAM – After Wednesday’s three-game sweep against Western Harnett, the Richmond Renegades junior vars won a 9-3 victory.
Following consecutive Laws of Mercy wins, the game went on for the full seven innings on Wednesday. Richmond amassed nine hits and used up-and-coming freshman Jason Walker’s strong start to improve to 5-1 over the summer season.
Walker allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits through five innings while knocking out seven clubs and running one. With rising freshman Riley Brown finishing the last two scoreless innings on the hill, surrendering two hits and hitting a batter.
“Jason and Riley are a really good combination,” said head coach Corey Wallace. “Jason threw it well, but struggled with his control early on. After minimizing those early mistakes, he fought his way back and hit his points in the zone.
“Riley did a great job finishing sixth,” he continued. “He threw punches and was able to close the door with really good finesse and accuracy.”
Western Harnett used three singles to get two runs in the top of the first inning, but Richmond’s rackets responded with three runs in the bottom half.
With an out, the rising sophomores Davis Faw and Vance Goodwin, and with both runners in the scoring position, the rising sophomore Cain Hunsucker emptied the bases with a two-RBI triple to the left corner of the field.
Hunsucker gave the JV Renegades an early 3-2 lead when he stole home with two outs.
Walker hit a 1-2-3 top in the second and escaped a two-on-one-out jam in the third with a strikeout and a fly-out in the middle.
Rising freshman pitcher Jason Walker pitched five innings and earned victory in Wednesday’s game against Western Harnett. (Kyle column)
Richmond ticked off a solo run in the bottom third as Brown took first place, scoring up and coming freshman Gray Maultsby (single). With rising newcomer Jeremiah Ritter also had a double in the inning, Richmond’s only other extra-base hit.
Another quick top half of the fourth saw Walker pulling Western Harnett’s punches back in order, opening the door to a five-run bottom of the fourth for the JV Renegades.
Ascending eighth graders Jabari Douglas and Jason Gainey led the inning in back-to-back singles, and a sacrificial blow from CJ Jenkins put both runners in the points position. An RBI base knock in Caden Nolan’s next at-bat was scored by Douglas, putting Gainey in third place.
Leadoff batter Tyler Graham posted an RBI when he was sure to hit an outfield pick and overtook Gainey. A throwing error on the same play allowed Nolan to advance to third place, and Graham later finished second.
Faw hit a tough grounder in second place and hit a mistake that pushed Nolan 90 feet forward to score. Goodwin was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Hunsucker garnered his team-leading third RBI of the game when he was pillaged in the next at-bat.
Scoring in the inning ended with rising sophomore Zane Searcy, who pushed an RBI single into right field and scored Faw to take a 9-2 lead.
“Cain did an excellent job blocking the ball and understanding the defense,” said Wallace. “He has put on a lot in the last six months and is starting to swing the batter better, much more evenly. His triple helped us to get out of an early deficit. “
Western Harnett scored his last run of the game in the top of fifth, taking advantage of an outfield player’s pick for second to score a runner who reached the frame.
Richmond stranded two runners on base in fifth, Brown managed to get out of a two-on, two-out pinch in the sixth and the JV Renegades had the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.
Hunsucker (triple), Ritter (double) and singles from Douglas, Faw, Gainey, Goodwin, Maultsby, Nolan and Searcy collected one hit each. The three RBIs from Hunsucker were joined by one each from Brown, Faw, Graham, Nolan and Searcy.
Faw had a team high with two runs scored while seven of his teammates all scored one goal.
Up-and-coming second grader Zane Searcy faces an RBI single in the opposing field in Richmond’s 9-3 win on Wednesday. (Kyle column)
“The difference between yesterday and today was that the Western Harnett pitchers were hitting, so we had to swing the club to get the runners to the base,” concluded Wallace. “We had to fight and it took some time to get going, but we had a really good fifth inning.”
The JV Renegades (5-1) will be back in action next week with a two-game set against Pinecrest. Tuesday’s game is away, followed by a home game on Thursday. Both games start at 4:30 p.m.
Note: The Varsity Renegades did not play on Wednesday but will receive Southern Lee on Friday. The team will be off next week as Pinecrest doesn’t have a college team.