LAURINBURG — Jessica Steen was kicking herself after her previous at-bat because she watched a good pitch go by.
She wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Steen launched the initial offering from Scotland’s Cameron Sharpe into the left-field stands for a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to send Richmond to its 14th straight victory to open the season, 2-0.
“Most of the strikes she threw were on first pitches,” Steen said. “It was there and I hit it. It was down the middle of I guess. I was swinging at bad pitches and I wasn’t waiting on it.”
Steen’s homer scored Doodle Jacobs, who opened the frame by reaching on an error by Scotland second baseman Ashleigh Bailey.
Richmond coach Wendy Wallace was surprised her counterpart, Patrick Williams, started Sharpe over Avery and Kenley Callahan.
“We tend to struggle with off-speed pitching and other teams know we struggle against off-speed pitching,” Wallace said. “We hit a lot of fly balls tonight…that is because we were hitting off our front foot.”
The Raiders managed six hits against Sharpe and struck out a season-high 11 times.
“She’s a sophomore and was my junior varsity pitcher last year,” Williams said. “I know Wendy expected to see Avery or Kenley out there. I started her because I wanted to keep them off balance. We can’t give a good team extra at-bats. I’m proud of our effort.”
The Scots weren’t able to fare much better offensively against Summer Jacobs, who allowed four hits and also recorded 11 strikeouts. They did load the bases in the fourth with two outs, but Jacobs coaxed Ashlyn Dial to end the threat by flying out to center.
An inning later Scotland had runners on first and second with one out, but Jacobs wiggled out of trouble by getting Avery Callahan to hit into a fielder’s choice and striking out Sharpe to end the rally.
“Summer pitched a good game for us,” Wallace said.
Richmond improved to 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference and extended its lead to two games following Purnell Swett’s 10-3 loss to rival Lumberton. Scotland falls to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC.
Whiteville shuts out Richmond
ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior girls soccer coach Bennie Howard said it is time for his team to circle the wagons if it wants to get better and afford games that Friday’s contest with Whiteville.
For the sixth time this season, the Raiders were shutout, falling 9-0. It was also the second game that was called because of the mercy rule.
“We played good for about 30 minutes,” Howard said. “It was the same story, us not marking up.”
Richmond had an opportunity to break into the scoring column in the first half, when it was awarded a penalty kick. Cassie McFayden was unable to connect as Whiteville took a 4-0 lead into halftime.
Richmond (2-8-1) will return to action 7 p.m. Wednesday at Raider Stadium against Southeastern Conference foe Hoke. The Bucks downed the Raiders 6-3 in the first matchup.
Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.