“We didn’t play real well against South Columbus, but I think that was being young and nervous,” said coach Sandy Thorndyke.
In Wednesday’s Three Rivers Conference opener at South Robeson, the young Golden Tornadoes showed their potential during a mercy-rule shortened 16-2 win.
Fairmont (1-2, 1-0) made the most of South Robeson’s struggles on the mound, in the batter’s box and on the field.
Senior Alex Britt, a UNCP signee, reached base in all five plate appearances and spearheaded the Golden Tornadoes’ onslaught. He started the game with a walk and later scored on a single by Ricky Ivey as part of a two-run first inning. Britt added doubles to kickstart rallies in the second and third innings and capped it with a three-run home run to left field in the fourth. He also reached base on a walk in the fifth, which was the only at-bat that didn’t result in him scoring.
Britt finished with seven RBI and four runs scored.
Fairmont’s lineup managed 16 runs on nine hits and was aided by a slew of free passes and mistakes in the field. South Robeson’s four pitchers in the game struggled at times with command, with no pitcher lasting more than one and two thirds of an inning.
The four pitchers combined for 10 walks, one hit batter and the nine hits, with only five strikeouts. The Mustangs also had four errors, along with several mistakes, such as a throw that beat a runner to a stolen base, only for the tag to come down late.
“We’ve just got a lot of getting better to do,” South Robeson firsty-year coach Ryan Bullard said. “Pitchers aren’t throwing strikes, hitters aren’t hitting the baseball.”
Fairmont used a two-man staff that combined for three total hits and two runs.
Freshman Cole Lovin threw the first three innings, allowing a walk and a single in the first. He found his spots over the final two frames, retiring the final seven batters he faced in order, which included a streak of five straight strikeouts.
“He knows how to pitch. He’s pitched for a long time. He spots it well and has a good breaking pitch,” Thorndyke said.
Lovin was replaced for the final two innings by Michael Simmons, who allowed two hits and two runs in the fourth inning. One of the hits was a double by Dakota Brayboy, who had South Robeson’s only extra-base hit. Simmons finished the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. Though the Mustangs were visibly disappointed after the game, Bullard expressed confidence that the team would be alright as the season continues.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, especially in our conference,” he said.
10-run inning hurts Pirates
FAYETTEVILLE — The Lumberton baseball team struggled to stop a fifth-inning rally in a 12-8 loss to Pine Forest Wednesday.
After being held scoreless in the first four innings, the Trojans strung together nine hits in 10 at-bats, en route to a 10-run fifth inning.
“We just couldn’t get them out,” Lumberton coach Paul Hodges said.
The inning was largely based around hits, as Lumberton had only one error in the game. Lumberton went up 2-0 in the first inning and 4-0 after the third. The Pirates narrowed the lead to 10-7 in the sixth before allowing two more runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Terrance Rucker led Lumberton with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, including one double.
Early struggles doom Lady Pirates
FAYETTEVILLE — The Lumberton softball team got out to a sluggish start, allowing four runs in the first two innings of a 5-3 loss at Pine Forest Monday.
The Trojans scored three runs in the first inning and one more in the second to take a 4-0 lead until Lumberton got on the board with a three-run fourth inning. Megan Skipper continued her recent hitting success, going 3-4 with two doubles.