ROCKINGHAM — Three batters up, three batters down.
That’s how Tuesday night’s baseball game ended for a Richmond Senior baseball team that was hoping for a seventh-inning rally against conference rival Scotland.
The visiting Scots used four pitchers — Cross Holfert, Nic Charleson, Justin Ingram and Daly Marcano — and two 2-run innings — to defeat Richmond 5-1 in the teams’ first meeting of the season.
“It obviously settles nerves when you come to a game and you can scratch first before the other team steps in the batters box,” Scotland head coach Chad Hill said. “It was their senior night, so they were amped up. I think that (early scores) really settled us and kind of took the crowd out of it for a little bit.”
The Raiders started off with an infield error that allowed Scotland’s Donta Green to get on base. Charleson was then hit by a Honeycutt pitch and would advance to to first.
Honeycutt’s attempt to pick off second base did not go as planned and both Scotland runners advanced.
A base hit from Holfert would bring Green and Charleson home as the Scots jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, Richmond got on the board after a Chase Haywood single brought home Corey Dove in the third after Scotland failed to tag the bag.
Neither team would score any runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Scotland’s Holfert was able to register a lead-off double in the top of the sixth, which was followed by a Justin Bowers bunt.
With runners on the corners and Aaron Locklear at bat for the Scots, Honeycutt was able to keep his composure and strike out Locklear. However, an errant throw to third base from catcher Nick Locklear resulted in a third Scotland score.
Marcano would ground out at first base, but Bowers crossed the plate to put Scotland up 4-1 in the sixth inning.
Scotland (16-5, 7-2) scored its fifth and final run in the top of the seventh after a Holfert two RBI double.
“We don’t do anything spectacular. We’re very bland and boring and try to chip away,” Hill said. “These guys have just been working hard…the kids just stayed into it, (they had) laser-sharp focus and we came out on top.”
Richmond (17-6, 7-2) dropped its second game in a row — it lost 4-1 to Pinecrest last Thursday — and will now have to win at Scotland Thursday evening in order to win the regular-season conference championship.
“We didn’t come ready to play for whatever reason,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said. “You would think when you have an opportunity to wrap up the conference championship on your home field that you would come out a little bit more focused. But for whatever reason we didn’t.”
The Raiders committed four errors on the night.
The Raiders and the Scots will meet in Laurinburg at 7 p.m. Thursday. The winner of that game will be crowned the Southeastern Conference regular-season champion.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow him on Twitter @_UncleLeon.