Prep Baseball: Nine in a row for hot Raiders
LANDIS — Anyone waiting for a letdown from South Rowan’s baseball team will have to wait a little longer.
One night after securing a monumental win against NPC rival West Rowan, the Raiders steamrolled visiting J.M. Robinson 13-3 in five innings Wednesday.
“I wasn’t worried about these kids,” coach Thad Chrismon said after eight straight South victories turned nine. “They don’t have the attitude that anybody’s gonna fall over in front of them. We pride ourselves on the fact that we have some good kids, but we’re better when we all pull together.”
South (13-3) was good enough to collect 11 hits — including home runs by Dylan Goodman and Chase Labbe — in just four turns at bat. Winning pitcher Aaron Bare (2-2) had a rocky first inning before settling down and firemen Blake Sechler and Jordan Boatwright each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
“They’re probably the best offensive team we’ve seen this year,” Robinson coach Jason Sarvis said. “Everything they hit was either up the middle or down the line or in the gap.”
Goodman, the senior center fielder who went 2-for-2, reached base four times and knocked in three runs, sensed the Raiders may have been a little flat after Tuesday’s 3-1 triumph at West. “We started out slow,” he explained. “That first inning they got up on us 3-0. We just had to come back and that’s always difficult.”
Robinson (7-9) packaged a pair of doubles with Jake Glunt’s bunt single, an infield error and Nick Vitallo’s sac fly to take an early lead. But the Raiders answered in their half of the first when Tyler steered a groundball single up the middle, took second on a wild pitch by losing pitcher C.J. White and scored on Goodman’s sharp groundball single to center.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the the third, when South sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs on six hits. Left-fielder Eric Stowe tied the score 3-3 when he whipped a two-run single off the glove of diving Robinson shortstop Hunter Kocher. Two batters later it was Labbe who crunched a two-run double to right-center, putting South ahead for good.
“Chase has been working on his swing,” Chrismon said after the first-baseman went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. “I was excited to see him being aggressive and confident.”
Before the inning was through, South chased White in favor of Jaquil Brown, a righthander whose pitches crossed the plate flat and unspectacular. The hit parade continued, capped when Goodman drove a 3-1 pitch over the left-field fence to make it 10-3.
Then in the fourth Labbe launched a 2-1 fastball over the fence in left-center. “It was a surprise,” he revealed afterward. “When I was running to first base I didn’t know where the ball was. I thought it was just a high flyball.”
South’s 12th run came on a Nathan Lambert groundout and its 13th when Eric Goldston scored on a two-out wild pitch. “I saw that as my opportunity,” said Goldston. “And I definitely wasn’t letting it get by me.”
Boatwright was entrusted to hold the 10-run lead in the top of fifth, but allowed Robinson’s first two batters to reach base. Then Glunt drilled a pitch to deep left field that should have extended the game. Instead Stowe’s relay throw was caught by infielder Jake Fulton, who fired home in time to retire the sliding Josh Macek. “We work on that in practice, “ smiled Goldston, who was overthrown on the play. “It’s like second nature.”