The Richmond Ninth Grade Academy Gold received both of those as it snapped its three-game losing skid in a 7-2 win over Hoke County Thursday afternoon at Hamlet Memorial Park.
Gold team starter Austin Bower recorded eight strikeouts in a complete game performance and the offensive notched nine hit.
Bower had a shutout going until the Bucks scored two runs in the seventh.
“I had good control of my fastball and I was locating my curve ball well,” Bower said. “Also, I was able to get ahead in the count by throwing strikes.”
The victory improved the Gold team’s record to 4-5 on the season.
Bower helped his own caused at the plate with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. He later stole second and Corey Smith doubled to drive in Bower with the game’s first run. Smith advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error on Ryan Mercer’s grounder.
Hoke threatened in the second when Bower walked Carter to leadoff the inning and Logan Wilson reached first after a Gold team error that placed runners on first and third with no outs. But Bower struck out the next three Bucks’ hitters to get out of the jam.
“He really stepped up there and kept them from getting back into the game,” Gold team coach Sam Williams said. “Overall, he pitched a heck of a game, and this was one of his best outings of the season.”
Richmond pushed four runs across the plate in the fourth assisted on three errors by Hoke. Todd Bryant and Alex Clark started the inning with back-to-back singles. Daniel Sweatt’s bunt scored Bryant from second to make it 3-0. Kevion Legrande followed with a single to push home Clark.
Jesse Cobb reached second on two Bucks’ throwing errors, which moved Legrande to third. Hoke County starter Chris Carter uncorked a wild pitch scoring Legrande and Hoke’s third error of the inning scored Cobb to extend the Gold team’s lead to 6-0.
“I thought we did a good job of putting the ball in play, and we didn’t swing at off-speed pitches early in the count,” Williams said. “We hit the ball better than in our last couple games. We were aggressive on the bases, which caused them to kicked it around some in the field.”
The Gold team returns to the field at 4 p.m. on May 4 at Lumberton.
n Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org