Richmond rolls to title

By Shawn Stinson Sports editor

May 9, 2014

ROCKINGHAM — The list is getting shorter.

Before the season started, the Richmond Senior baseball team compiled its goals for the season. The first was to win the Southeastern Conference’s regular season title.

That was accomplished with the victory over Scotland last week coupled with Lumberton’s loss to Purnell Swett.

The next was to capture the conference tournament.

Richmond coach Ricky Young and his players can now put a big check mark next to that wish.

Richmond batted around in the third inning and scored four runs en route to a 7-2 victory over Pinecrest Friday night at Raider Field in the SEC tournament title game.

After the victory, the team’s seniors received the championship plaque from SEC president Gary Brigman.

“We are taking it one game at a time,” senior catcher Bradley Brown said. “We know next week it is going to be one-and-done. There’s a big difference from where we were at the beginning of the season. We weren’t gelled and there wasn’t a lot of chemistry. We are getting hot at the plate and our pitching is doing what it usually does.”

One of the pitching stars Brown was talking about is Nic Bullard. The senior left-hander pitched all seven innings against the Patriots, allowing six hits, two earned runs and striking out eight.

Nic Bullard ran into trouble in the fourth inning when Pinecrest scored twice to cut the deficit to 4-2 and was threatening to tack on more runs. With runners on first and second with two outs, Dalton Bullard ripped a double into the gap in right scoring Dylan Wallace and Joe Cirigliano. Nic Bullard picked off courtesy runner Carson Maples off second to end the inning.

Richmond added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth to pick the game out of reach. Nic Bullard had a two-out two-run double on a 3-2 count in the fifth and Cody Leviner added a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Young said his group of seniors have been in this position before and he isn’t surprised to see them rise to the challenge with the 4A state playoffs beginning next week.

“We have a lot of experience, especially on the mound,” Young said. “They understand the importance of this time of year. We are starting to put it all together and our experience is playing a big part in it.”

Richmond (17-6-1) will get at least two home games in the postseason and will open at home against the No. 4 team out of the Greater Neuse River Conference 7 p.m. Wednesday. Pinecrest (19-5) will play host to the No. 3 team from the Mideastern Conference.

Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.