It was a dilemma the Red Springs baseball team found itself in Wednesday night in a 4-2 win over Douglas Byrd.
The Red Devils (4-0) were limited to six total hits and instead relied on an aggressive approach on the base-paths to get their fourth win in as-many games.
“We’re very aggressive. We did a lot of hit and runs and stole a lot of bases,” Red Springs coach Chris Howell said. “We’re going to test people. That’s just what we do.”
Though the Devils’ four runs were split between two innings, it was the aggression on the basepaths that seemed to win it. Red Springs leadoff hitter Zach Leach had an infield single to start the game, advancing to second on a passed ball. He then used his quick legs to steal third, eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
Austin Dial, the third hitter in the lineup, didn’t fair much differently, walking in his at-bat, then making it to third after separate wild pitches, eventually coming in on a single by Austin Brooks to make it 2-0.
Douglas Byrd scored a run in the top of the second to make it 2-1. Red Springs broke the scoring drought in the bottom of the fourth, reaching base on an error by the first baseman. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a dropped third strike that allowed Zach Jones to reach base.
Hits by Simeon Jones and Dylan Locklear later scored the two.
Otherwise, Red Springs’ offensive chances were few and far between as Eagle pitcher Brett Kellam found his rhythm and kept the Red Devils at bay.
“We knew he was a good pitcher,” Howell said. “He’s hits his spots and it was just one of our off nights.”
Red Springs countered Kellam with Dylan Locklear, who pitched six innings and allowed five hits in the win, striking out eight. Of his six innings pitched, he had four without a hit allowed. His Achilles’ heel was a bunting attack. The Eagles opened the second inning with three straight bunts.
The first one was bobbled by Locklear, allowing the runner to reach. The second was a sacrifice bunt to move the first into scoring position. The third was a bunt for a single. The three bunts were followed by a single from Diamond Reeves, which scored Dimitrius Gardner, the inning’s leadoff hitter.
Locklear then struck out the next two hitters to end the inning. Douglas Byrd’s only other run came in the fifth, when Sam Sylvester reached on an error, advanced on a wild pitch, then scored on a single by Kellam. The Eagles did give Red Springs a final scare in the top of the seventh. Devils closer Nick Henderson got two quick outs, before allowing back-to-back singles and hitting a batter to load the bases with two outs.
He struck out Zach Hall to end the game.
“We came in with high expectations,” said Howell, who lost only two seniors to graduation from last year’s team. “We had a lot returning, so hopefully we can stay on course and be ready for conference play next week.”
Swett 22, Seventy-First 1
FAYETTEVILLE — Purnell Swett (3-4) had no lack of offense in a 22-1 win Wednesday at Seventy-First.
The Rams scored a combined 18 runs in the third and fourth innings, while limiting their opponents to three total hits. Swett had 11 hits in the game, including a 2-for-3 performance from Ryan Lowry, who had two doubles.
Austin Locklear played a double threat, going 2-for-3 with a triple and picking up the win on the mound.
Ashley 10, Lumberton 9
WILMINGTON — Late offense helped Ashley grab a 10-9 win against Lumberton Wednesday.
Lumberton led 9-4 after the top of the fifth inning, but allowed three runs each in the fifth and six innings. Terrance Rucker led Lumberton with a 3-for-4 game at the plate, including a double. Raleigh Forrest went 2-for-4.