PEMBROKE — Purnell Swett was inches away from heading into its dugout leading by three going into the bottom of the fourth.
Instead, the Rams found themselves trailing by four after committing several miscues and errors in the top of the inning.
“Our balloon got deflated,” Purnell Swett coach Bryan McDonald said. “We never recovered. It’s been a struggle lately and tonight typified our season.”
Richmond took advantage and cruised to a 14-7 victory Wednesday night to take a one-game lead over Lumberton and Pinecrest in the Southeastern Conference. The Raiders are now 6-1 in the conference and will face the Pirates 7 p.m. today in Lumberton.
After retiring the first two batters in the fourth, Purnell Swett’s Austin Lee Locklear was pulled after allowing the next six batters to reach safely. Mike Rush was safe after Mattias Carter was unable to catch a fly ball in shallow left. Cody Leviner and Bradley Brown reached on errors by Ironeyes Locklear and Alex Locklear, respectively.
Then Richmond started to get its offense rolling. James Buie had a run-scoring single, Taylor McLean added a two-run single two batters later. McLean’s hit chased Austin Lee Locklear.
Purnell Swett reliever Cody Harris was greet with an RBI-single by Matt Pettit and a two-run single by Joseph Griffith to close out the scoring in Richmond’s seven-run frame.
“I’m proud of the way we battled back,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said. “We hit some balls hard and we capitalized on their errors.”
Buie picked up the victory on the mound for the Raiders despite not, as Young said, “having his best stuff.” Buie scattered 10 hits in six innings of work with four strikeouts.
Fairmont clinches conference title
WHITEVILLE — The Fairmont baseball team clinched its fourth straight Three Rivers Conference title with a 1-0 win against Whiteville on Wednesday.
The Golden Tornadoes (15-1, 11-0) used small ball to score the only run of the game in the fourth inning. Gage Hardin singled and two players walked to load the bases before Julius Caulder hit a sacrifice fly to score him
Fairmont ace Cole Lovin threw a two-hitter and struck out 10.
Chance Leggett finished with three of Fairmont’s four hits and Hardin’s single the fourth.
In other area games Red Springs beat East Columbus 9-6 and St. Pauls lost 12-3 to South Columbus.