PEMBROKE — The Purnell Swett softball team has dealt with injuries all season, but when first baseman Alysa Hunt lost a throw in the sun during the second inning of Wednesday’s 12-0 loss to Richmond, it hurt the Rams in more ways than one.
The throw hit Hunt in the chin, causing it to bleed and forcing the senior to leave the game. It also allowed a runner to reach, starting a three-run rally that put the Raiders up 6-0.
“That injury at first base was the turning point for us,” said Purnell Swett coach William Deese. “We never did overcome that.”
Instead, the Rams struggles continued throughout the game and ended by mercy rule in the sixth inning.
It clinched a share of the SEC title and a playoff berth for the Raiders (15-0, 7-0 SEC), while the Rams (6-9, 4-4) remain in a tight race with Lumberton, Pinecrest and Scotland for the final two playoff spots.
“We came in with our goals set to win the conference, win the conference tournament, make a run through the playoffs and hopefully take it all the way,” Richmond coach Wendy Wallace said. “We’re taking it one game at a time and one goal at a time, so we’re happy. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Richmond took care of things early with a two-pronged attack. The Raiders combined for 17 hits, four for extra bases, as Summer Jacobs quickly went through Purnell Swett’s lineup.
Jacobs allowed only three hits and none of the four Rams that reached made it past second base.
“I don’t have a complaint at all about tonight,” Wallace said.
Richmond found rallies throughout the game.
After fly out to start the game, the Raiders got five hits in a row, starting with Ashton Davenport and ending with Chelsea Davis, to go up 3-0. In the second inning, Hunt’s injury allowed a runner to reach and four hits later, Richmond was up 6-0.
The Raiders had lone runs in the third and fifth before putting it away with a four-run seventh inning.
Their 17 hits were largely seeing-eye singles to the gaps or shallow parts of the field. The first nine hits were singles until Haleigh Denham hit a double in the third inning.
Six Raiders finished with multi-hit games, led by Katie Satterfield, who went 3-for-4 with one of the team’s four doubles. Jacobs also went 2-for-4 with a double.
Purnell Swett’s Sequoia Locklear took the loss, throwing the complete game. Her defense had four errors.
“We usually struggle with slow pitchers but the last few days we’ve been working on slower pitchers and it paid off,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs credited her off-speed pitches with keeping Purnell Swett off-balance. She finished with seven strikeouts, three in the bottom of the fifth.
In Whiteville, Fairmont lost 5-0.
The Golden Tornadoes (8-5, 6-5) were limited to three hits in the loss and struck out 16 times against Malerie Leviner. Tiffany Hicks went 2-3 with a double for Fairmont and Katelon Floyd took the loss in the complete game.
In other local softball games, St. Pauls was held hitless in a 12-0 loss to South Columbus and Red Springs lost 8-0 to Red Springs.
LUMBERTON — The Lumberton soccer team inched closer to the Southeastern Conference title with a 9-0 win against Richmond on Wednesday. Play lasted for the first 10 minutes of the second half, when the Pirates (11-3, 7-1) ended the game by mercy rule.
With two games left in the conference schedule, the Pirates are one win from clinching a share of the SEC title and a second win would win the conference outright.
Madi Britt led Lumberton with four goals and Michaela Nash had three. Kendall Blaine and Madison Sirmans had one each. Blaine added two assists, and Sirmans, Nash, Nikki Hansen, Alexis Ard and Chloe Locklear each had one.
The Pirates led 7-0 at halftime and resume conference play at Scotland on April 28.