Lumberton breezes into semifinals

First Posted: 7/23/2010

SOUTHERN PINES The chase for the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer Baseball League crown will be a grind for the Lumberton Pirates, with four games in four days if they reach the title game.
So no one should blame Pirate coach Paul Hodges for trying to win a game early and giving his pitching staff a few innings off.
Lumberton sent 16 batters to the plate in the second inning, scoring 11 runs and cruised to a 17-9 victory over South View in the second round of the CCSSL playoffs Thursday night at Pinecrest High School. The Pirates will face Southeastern Conference foe Richmond in todays 5 p.m. semifinal contest at Lee County.
We were trying to get it done in five innings, Hodges said. We focus on twos and fives. We try to get up by two runs, five runs, then extend it to 10 or 12. Were excited about the win, but I thought we should have won it in five innings.
Steven Kirby, who went 3-for-4 on the night, had the big hit in the second inning. After a sacrifice bunt in his first at-bat of the frame, Kirby slugged a three-run double in his second appearance. Kirby later added a solo home run in the top of the fifth.
My approach was to sit back and let the ball come deeper to me, Kirby said. I kind of knew I hit the sweet spot, but I didnt think it was going all the way over the wall.
Hodges was happy to see his team get the offense going early after managing just seven hits in their first round win over Terry Sanford.
We hit the ball well early, Hodges said. I think we had 16 or 17 hits. They misplayed a couple of balls, but we hit the ball well.
After the 11-run outburst gave the Pirates a 13-2 advantage, South View chipped away at the lead to avoid the 10-run mercy rule. The Tigers scored two runs in the third and added three more in the fourth to trim the deficit to 15-7 to keep the game alive after the Pirates scored twice in the third.
Justin Leggett earned the victory in relief for the Pirates. Leggett limited South View to just two runs in 3 2/3 innings. After a line drive bounced off his leg to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the fourth, Leggett struck out Austin Grant and Scott Ski to end the threat.
I thought Justin did a great job, Hodges said.
In the other second contests in the CCSSL playoffs, Richmond defeated Grays Creek 7-6, Fuquay-Varina downed Farmville Central 8-1 and South Central edged Wakefield 11-10.

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