Spring teams head into break on a high note

By: By Leon Hargrove Jr. - Sports Editor
Leon Hargrove Jr. | Daily Journal Richmond’s Jonathan Lee gets ready to throw a pitch during a home game against Pinecrest on Tuesday, March 13. Lee threw the first seven-inning perfect game in school history on Thursday, earning 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over conference foe Hoke County.

ROCKINGHAM — Not every team was able to cap the first stretch of the season with a win or a first-place finish, but the Richmond athletic department had an eventful week heading into Good Friday and Spring Break.

Senior Jonathan Lee pitched a perfect game in the baseball team’s shutout victory over Hoke County, the softball squad scored a school-record 22 runs in a runway conference win, senior Dante Miller set a personal record in the 100-meter dash, the girls soccer team extended its win streak, and much more.

Here’s a look at what each team was able to accomplish since last Thursday and what’s next:

SOFTBALL (9-2, 8-0 SAC)

The Lady Raiders almost lost their first conference game last Friday against Jack Britt, but freshman outfielder Paige Ransom — who currently leads the team in over-the-fence hits — sparked their comeback with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning and then a two-run double in the seventh that eventually forced the game into extra innings.

Junior shortstop Savannah Lampley cranked a walk-off two-run bomb in the tenth inning to seal the deal for Richmond, who was trailing Jack Britt by five runs heading into the bottom of the sixth.

The momentum from that matchup spilled over into Tuesday’s meeting at Hoke County, where the softball team saw four players (Lampley, Ransom, Kayla Hawkins, Greyson Way) hit a home run in a 22-2 drubbing. Ransom’s hit was a second-inning grand slam, both Hawkins and Way recorded two-run homers, and Lampley hit a solo shot.

Richmond slowed down a bit when it visited non-conference foe West Stanly on Wednesday, only scoring three runs on six hits in a 5-3 loss, but bounced back with a 9-1 win — which featured homers from Ransom and senior Brianna Baysek — over Hoke on Thursday.

The Lady Raiders will be participating in the Beach Diamond Invitational at West Brunswick starting next week, opening the tournament with a game against Whiteville on Monday, April 2, at 1 p.m.

GIRLS SOCCER (9-2, 6-2 SAC)

Back-to-back wins this past week have the girls soccer team right where head coach Bennie Howard wants it to be: sitting in third place in the conference standings with only two losses on the season.

The Lady Raiders had four players score a goal in 4-0 win over conference rival Scotland on Monday and then escaped a “physical game” at Purnell Swett with a 4-2 victory Wednesday. Juniors Jayana Nicholson and Chloe Wiggins scored a goal each in both games, helping the team keep its win streak alive.

Also scoring goals in the two wins were senior Hanna Millen and juniors Jessi Graham and Morgan Hooks — who both netted hat tricks in a win over Lumberton early last week. Millen tallied the game’s first goal at Scotland, Hooks gave the team a 2-0 lead with her goal in the same game, and Graham picked up her lone goal of the week on Wednesday.

Richmond won’t play again until Monday, April 9, at Pinecrest, but Howard plans on holding a couple of practices for the players who are still in town at the end of next week.

BASEBALL (7-5, 4-4 SAC)

Lee’s perfect game on the mound, which resulted in a 3-0 win over Hoke on Thursday, couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Raiders had lost six of their last eight games prior to Thursday’s rematch with Hoke and needed a confidence boost heading into the break. They had just used an all-around effort to take down non-conference opponent Hartsville on Wednesday and wanted to avenge Tuesday’s loss to the Bucks — a win that slipped through their hands due to multiple defensive errors.

It was the first seven-inning perfect game in school history and Lee did so while striking out 11 batters and throwing a little more than 70 pitches. After the game, the UNC-Pembroke commit tweeted “Couldn’t have done it without y’all boys” in reply to teammate Tyler Bass — who congratulated him on the feat.

Richmond, which didn’t record any defensive errors in Thursday’s game , scored its three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, courtesy of an RBI double from senior Drew Loving — who then scored the second run on a Hoke error at first base — and a RBI single from junior Alex Anderson, which scored Bass for the team’s final run.

Now the Raiders will turn their focus to the Seahawk Invitational at Hilton Head (S.C.), as they’re scheduled to play a first-round game on Monday, April 2.

BOYS TENNIS (4-7, 4-6 SAC)

Despite a “great effort,” the boys tennis team wasn’t able to close the opening chapter of the 2018 season with a win, falling 5-4 to Jack Britt on its home court on Thursday.

Freshman Bradford Pittman, who has been a bright spot in his first year, continued to show his potential with a singles win at the No. 6 spot while senior Kristofer Spivey’s improvement was on display in his No. 4 singles victory. The two Raiders also came out on top in their respective matches against Purnell Swett on Wednesday.

The junior duo of Mason Bailey and Caleb Brewer has been coming on strong in the No. 3 doubles with three consecutive wins — starting with them earning one of the team’s two points in a 7-2 loss at Scotland last Friday. They escaped Jevon White and Tyler Maddox by a score of 8-6 on Thursday.

The other doubles win versus Jack Britt came from the rackets of senior Jimmy Cooley and junior Kevin Campos. Head coach Patrick Hope said their “chemistry has improved a lot” after they won 8-5 versus Jack Britt at the No. 2 spot.

Richmond will be back in action on Tuesday, April 10, when it hosts Hoke County.

TRACK AND FIELD

Miller dominated the 100-meter dash in a conference meet last Thursday and did so again at the J.J. Knox Track Classic at Eastern Alamance two days later. His time of 10.27 seconds, which he recorded against SAC competition, was the fastest time he’d ever ran in the 100 — an event he has already qualified at the state championships.

The boys team finished second at the conference meet and third in Mebane, where Miller was one of three Raiders to earn a first-place finish in an individual event. Senior Jaleen Baldwin topped the 200-meter dash (22.66 secs) and Coker won the 400-meter dash (50.23 secs) at Eastern Alamance.

Taliah Wall, a junior, won three individual events (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, long jump) last Thursday to lead the girls team to a first-place finish on their home track. Junior Janai Davis (shot put), senior Harmony Jones (100m dash) and sophomore Kibreanna Stewart (triple jump) also won their respective events.

At the J.J. Knox Classic, it was sophomore Monasia Kearns who had the highest individual finish in a fifth-place effort. She placed third the 100m dash (13.42) and was also a member of the 4x200m relay team that came in second.

Both teams traveled to Hoke County for a meet Wednesday afternoon, but the results have yet to be posted. Their next meet is set for Saturday, March 31, at Union Pines at 9:30 a.m.

Leon Hargrove Jr. | Daily Journal Richmond’s Jonathan Lee gets ready to throw a pitch during a home game against Pinecrest on Tuesday, March 13. Lee threw the first seven-inning perfect game in school history on Thursday, earning 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over conference foe Hoke County.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_lee2-1.jpgLeon Hargrove Jr. | Daily Journal Richmond’s Jonathan Lee gets ready to throw a pitch during a home game against Pinecrest on Tuesday, March 13. Lee threw the first seven-inning perfect game in school history on Thursday, earning 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over conference foe Hoke County.

By Leon Hargrove Jr.

Sports Editor

Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected]urnal.com. For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.

Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.