Even though it wasn’t a knockout punch, it was enough for the Rams to move a game up on the Raiders.
Purnell Swett’s Kayla Lewis sent a 2-2 pitch over the head of Richmond right fielder Hunter Parks for a triple in the fifth to score Alexis Locklear with the game’s only run to send the Rams to a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.
“I was looking for a pitch down the middle,” Lewis said. “She’s (Casey Snead) a tough pitcher and she kept throwing me outside. I was looking for her to make that one mistake.”
Locklear picked up the win on the mound for the Rams (7-2, 2-0). Locklear allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out seven in the complete-game shutout.
“Their pitcher did her job,” Richmond coach Wendy Wallace said. “They made the plays at the right time. They made the plays to keep us from scoring.”
Purnell Swett opens the SEC with victories over its two biggest rivals for the conference title, Scotland and Richmond.
“To me, it’s important to get a game up on both our opponents,” Purnell Swett coach James Graves said. “We really scraped to get one tonight. I’m tickled to win a 1-0 game. Alexis took the bats out of their hands.”
Snead was also effective on the mound for the Raiders. The senior limited the Rams to four hits and struck out 11.
“Casey threw the ball extremely well,” Graves said. “She took the bats out of our hands as well.”
Richmond had two opportunities to break into the scoring column against Locklear in the first and sixth.
The Raiders (6-3, 1-1) loaded the bases with two outs in the opening frame, but Locklear escaped by striking out Jennifer Steen.
In the sixth, Cierra Bowden opened with a single to left. After failing to get a sacrifice bunt down, Jessica Steen ripped a single to left, moving Bowden to second. Following a visit to the mound by Graves, Jennifer Steen lined out softly to short. Parks hit a fly ball down the left-field line which Reagan Cummings made a running catch on for the second out. Once again, Locklear was able to get out of the threat by coaxing Bailey Coulthard to ground out.
“I had the bunt on for Jennifer, but once they called time, I talked to Jennifer and Cierra,” Wallace said. “Jennifer said ‘I want to hit.’ It’s a lesson learned. I didn’t have speed on the bases, so I took a gamble and it didn’t fall our way.
“We have to find that refuse to lose attitude.”
Reach Shawn Stinson at (910) 997-3111 or at email@example.com