FAIRMONT — With prom the night before, players from both Red Springs and Lumberton were tired going into the early game to start the 2017 Robeson County Slugfest at 10 a.m., but Lumberton coach Jeff McLamb’s fears of a sluggish start were relieved when he came to meet with the team Saturday morning.
“I was a little worried coming in, but once I got to the fieldhouse and seen that everybody was nice and relaxed and loose and having a great time,” he said. “So coming in today I felt good.”
One of those relaxed faces looking back at him was sophomore Kris Allen, who was running on fumes from a late night, but managed to dig deep for his team. With his play on the mound and at the plate, the Pirates came away with a 12-6 win over Red Springs at Fairmont High School.
He threw six innings to allow three hits and had a two-run homer for Lumberton, and getting that first win was all that a fatigued Allen could focus on.
“I didn’t get home until like 2 o’clock last night and I woke up this morning and my eyes were bloodshot red because I didn’t get no sleep, but I came here and was excited and played,” Allen said. “It was an adrenaline rush.”
The Pirates’ win sets up a meeting with St. Pauls in the 4 p.m. semifinal tomorrow at Fairmont. Red Springs will take on Hoke County at 1 p.m. in the consolation round.
Getting the opening-round win didn’t come easy for Lumberton.
After taking a 5-0 lead after the first inning, Red Springs fought with two outs. The Red Devils loaded the bases and took advantage of three straight errors by the Pirates to tie the score. Five of the six Red Spring runs were unearned.
“As we go farther in the tournament, we play better teams and if you give better teams unearned runs it’s going to be tough to beat them,” McLamb said.
Following that rough spot, the final four innings for Allen on the mound was smooth sailing as his offense provided run support.
“The first thing I said to them was, ‘Don’t quit hitting on me. I need y’all boys to hit and get the runs back,’” Allen said, “and they did what I said. … When we came back and started hitting, it put the weight off my shoulders.”
In the bottom of the second inning, Daniel Carter, Tyler Jacobs and Dylan Bruce each singled in a run to regain the lead for the Pirates. A bases-loaded walk in the third, an A.J. Brooks RBI single and bases-loaded hit batter in the fourth took the Lumberton lead out to 11-5.
With two starters out due to the pitch count rule, McLamb went with Allen and left him with a few instructions that he followed to perfection.
“I told him before the game that we needed him to go deep in order for us to win this tournament,” he said. “He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He threw strikes and I think it loosened him up when he hit that home run in the first inning.”
The No. 2, 3 and four hitters in the Lumberton lineup — Brooks, Allen and Carter — combined for seven hits and seven RBIs.
“We were just trying to focus in on hitting strikes and hitting it hard somewhere and it worked out for us,” McLamb said.
Brandon Norris went 3-for-3 with an RBI for Lumberton.
Red Springs’ Jordan Locklear had an RBI single in the sixth.
St. Pauls tops Hoke County in rout
After falling behind two runs to Hoke County early, the St. Pauls baseball team did what it has done all year and showed resiliency in an 11-2 win.
With the extra day between games, coach Kelly Chavis wanted to space out pitches among three pitchers — Aaron Revels, Jeremiah Locklear and Dawson Caulder. Locklear pitched a perfect 2 2/3 innings and struck out three batters.
“We had a game plan coming in that we were going to spread the pitchers around,” Chavis said. “Aaron did what we asked him to do and the guys behind him threw strikes and kept their pitch count down. So we are kind of at full strength for Monday.”
After trailing 2-0 after the first inning, St. Pauls scored eight runs in the second and third innings to open up the game.
Brad Locklear had a pair of hits and three RBIs in the win.
Brandon Wilkes and Kody Russell each had an RBI for the Bucks who plays Red Springs in the consolation round.
Rams rebound to trounce Mustangs
Purnell Swett baseball coach Bryan McDonald knows that power hitters will have their good and bad moments at the plate, such was the case for Chandler Brayboy in the Rams’ first game at Slugfest.
The sophomore second baseman struck out in his first two plate appearances before belting a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth to cap off Purnell Swett’s 15-2 win over South Robeson in five innings.
“He’s a strong kid and can hit a baseball a mile,but a lot of times those kids that can hit the ball a mile strike out a few times too. And that’s Chandler,” McDonald said. “I think he’s got two or three home runs on the year and he hits the ball hard when he hits it.”
After giving up two runs in the first inning to the Mustangs, the Rams rebounded with three runs in the bottom of the first and six runs in the bottom of the third.
Dakota Locklear had three RBIs for the Rams and Ethan Chavis and Braydon Scott each added two RBIs.
Floyd, Fairmont moves on past West Bladen
Fairmont starter Randy Floyd pitched a complete game and also did his fair share at the plate to lead the Golden Tornadoes past West Bladen, 5-3, in the final game of day one at the Robeson County Slugfest.
The win pits Fairmont with Purnell Swett in the 7 p.m. semifinal game tomorrow.
On top of throwing a complete game, Floyd had a hit and scored two run for Fairmont. Floyd’s final scored came in the bottom of the sixth as the Golden Tornadoes broke a 3-3 tie when Seth Thorndyke scored on a wild pitch to take the lead.
Hunter Watts had two RBIs for Fairmont and Scott Bowen had two RBIs for West Bladen.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.