SHALLOTTE — The trip to the beach was exactly what Richmond coach Ricky Young wanted for his team.
Have fun, play good baseball and win the Beach Diamond Invitational Baseball Tournament.
The Raiders fulfilled all of their coach’s desires.
Richmond knocked out 12 hits and turned back a seventh-inning rally by West Brunswick to claim a 9-5 victory in the championship game Wednesday night.
“We came out swinging the bats better than we have in a while,” Young said.
The Raiders (13-6-1) led 9-2 going into the bottom of seventh when the Trojans mounted a comeback. West Brunswick scored three runs thanks to two Richmond errors and had the bases loaded with two outs when Young called on reliever Joe Butler to close out the game. Butler promptly struck out the only batter he faced to earn the save and perserve the win for starter Cody Leviner.
The junior right-hander pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two walks and two earned runs. Leviner recorded six strikeouts on the night.
Leviner was also one of the key hitters for the Raiders, recording three hits. Bradley Brown had a solo home run and a two-run single in the win. James Buie, Taylor McLean and Matt Pettit each added two hits.
“We had three quality wins against three quality teams,” Young said. “The kids had a good time. I hope we can use this as a springboard for the rest of the regular season.”
In the other games at the tournament, North Brunswick defeated South Columbus 9-3 to claim third, Winslow Township (N.J.) slipped past South Stanly 9-8 in the fifth-place contest and Harrells Christian Academy knocked off East Columbus 9-3 to finish seventh.
Richmond will return to Southeastern Conference play 7 p.m. Tuesday when Pinecrest visits Raider Field. Richmond and Lumberton are tied atop the conference standings with a 6-2 mark. Pinecrest is a half-game behind and will play Scotland 7 p.m. Friday in Southern Pines. A victory by the Patriots over the Scots would vault them into a 3-way tie for the SEC lead.
Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.