The Fighting Scots varsity baseball team was left with quite a bit to think about after surrendering their first lost of the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League season to rival Richmond. Traveling to Rockingham just under two weeks ago, the Fighting Scots lost decisively in five innings by a score of 12-1 in a game that saw just three Scotland batters get hits.
And then last week, the rain came, and so did the cancellations.
“With all the rain outs we’ve had, this team never got a chance to bounce back and redeem ourselves after that first lost to Richmond,” said head coach Jamie Coleman. “They’ve been thinking about righting the ship ever since.”
After a double-header Monday night at North Moore (both wins), the Fighting Scots returned to McCoy Field to host Richmond in a low-scoring, intense rematch that more closely echoed the games both teams are used to having with each other. But this time, Scotland would reverse their fortunes to best the Raiders 3-1 and tie Richmond for the number one seed in the CCSSL Deep South division with the playoffs just around the corner.
Fighting Scots starting pitcher Dakota Graves looked disappointed when coach Coleman called for the game ball with just one out left in the seventh inning. But after tossing 6 2/3 dominant innings, Graves was relieved in favor of Will Adams who fanned the very next batter to finally shut the door on Richmond.
In fact, after surrendering the first run of the game to a Raider RBI single, Graves settled down and allowed just a single hit over the course of his final three innings of work, notching two strikeouts during that span as well.
Meanwhile, the few opportunities that Richmond allowed the Fighting Scots were fully capitalized upon, namely in the bottom of the third inning. An HB Stone walk put Scotland runners on first and third base, and a fielding error resulting from an attempt to throw out a stealing Stone gave Scotland’s Sam Gray the opening he needed to score on a play at the plate. Stone would also reach third base in the confusion as well.
Two pitches later, Stone would slide across home plate after a wild pitch to give the Fighting Scots the 2-1 lead, enough of a cushion to keep the Raiders at bay for the remainder of the game. The Raiders pitching and defense, however, was equally stout Tuesday evening as Scotland struggled to add to their lead, reaching base just four times after their two- run third inning. But one of the Fighting Scots’ hits belonged to Blake Bennett in the sixth inning, a solo home run which soared over the 315-foot marker on the right field fence to make the score 3-1.
“We’re try to build momentum towards the playoffs, and a huge home win against Richmond is a great way to do that,” said Coleman after the game. “Our 12-1 loss to them a couple weeks back saw us do a lot of uncharacteristic things like make fielding errors. But as expected, these kids showed tonight what kind of fighters they really are.”