SOUTHERN PINES – On Wednesday evening, the Richmond Senior baseball team traveled to Pinecrest to battle for a spot in the conference tournament final.
When the two teams met at Pinecrest’s John Williams Field on April 11, the Patriots scored early and often en route to a 14-4 victory in six innings. This time, however, the Patriots had to face Jonathan Lee.
In his first complete game on the mound in a while, Lee only allowed one run on four hits and struck out 10 batters. Unfortunately, that was all the offense Pinecrest needed as they sent Richmond home with a 1-0 loss.
The Raiders managed only two hits in the game and accumulated four errors.
After Richmond went down in order in the bottom of the first and second innings, Pinecrest went to work at the plate. Trent McKay led things off in the bottom of the second with a double and then Tommy Vinson was able to reach on an error.
Following Davis Byrd’s pop fly, Noah Thompson single — which loaded the bases. A bunt single by Elliot Embler brought home McKay for what would wind up being the game’s only score. Nick Pry would hit one straight at Myles Rohleder who scooped it up and threw Vinson out at home to hold the Patriot lead to just one run.
That’s when Jonathan Lee took control, as he struck out Dax Ingram to end the inning and strand three Patriot runners on base.
After Rohleder and Chase Haywood walked in the top of the third, Drew Loving hit a two-out single to load the bases and give Richmond some life. Chandler Johnson groundout, however, ended the Raiders’ hopes of tying it up.
The Raiders would have one more opportunity in the sixth inning after Haywood led off with a double and eventually advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Loving. Johnson followed with a bunt of his own but it went a little too high, allowing Nick Pry make the catch and then throw Haywood out at third for the double play.
Richmond (15-11) now waits for the NCHSAA 4A playoff brackets to see when, where, or if they will play again. Scotland upset Purnell Swett 4-3 in the other semifinal game, meaning Richmond may now need a wild-card spot to make the post season.
Pinecrest (18-6) will host the Scots in the SEC Tournament Title game on Friday.