First Posted: 3/27/2013
RED SPRINGS Thrust into an extended relief outing after an early injury to starting pitcher Alex Britt, Fairmonts Cole Lovin pounded the strike zone and watched his teams bats come to life Tuesday at Red Springs.
The end result was a 10-3 victory and a confidence builder for a freshman who is one of seven new starters for the defending Three Rivers champion Golden Tornadoes. Lovin tossed 84 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, facing three batters over the minimum in a 12-strikeout, two-hit performance on his way to handing the Red Devils their first loss of the season.
Cole knows how to pitch, Fairmont coach Sandy Thorndyke said. It might be his first year of high school ball, but hes pitched all his life. Hes very consistent and does a good job of keeping hitters off-balance. Hes smart out there.
Lovin stepped in for Britt with the Golden Tornadoes (3-3, 2-1) trailing 1-0 after Fairmonts senior ace was hit in the left knee by a rocket from Austin Dial. After a brief delay, Britt moved to second and Lovin took the mound, quickly ending the threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
Lovin was ahead of hitters often and worked the count back in his favor on multiple occasions late in the game. Over 9 2/3 total innings against conference competition this season, hes given up three hits with 18 strikeouts.
Ive had good command of my fastball and curveball, Lovin said. Just being able to locate those two pitches is what I try to do.
Red Springs (7-1, 2-1) pushed across runs in the third and fifth innings but did little else against the hard-throwing righty.
In the top of the fourth, Britt gave Fairmont a 3-2 lead it would never relinquish with a two-run single to left center. He added an RBI single through the hole between short and third during a three-run sixth.
The Golden Tornadoes broke open a tight contest after roughing up Austin Dial for six runs over the final two innings after Dial replaced Red Springs starter Dylan Locklear.
The loss snapped Locklears streak of three wins in his first three starts.
It was just one of those games, Red Springs coach Chris Howell said. We didnt capitalize on opportunities. We came up short and have a day to work on some things before playing South Robeson on Thursday.
Fairmonts Chance Leggett, the teams starting catcher heading into the season, singled in his first at-bat of the year during a pinch-hit role in the seventh inning. Leggett injured his throwing hand during the preseason but is expected to return without restriction by Saturdays Robeson County Slugfest opener according to Thorndyke.
The Golden Tornadoes have won consecutive games since starting the season 1-3 and seem to have found their footing with the Britt-Lovin punch at the front end of their rotation. Fairmont takes on East Columbus today at 5 p.m.
We like to think weve got two good ones we can throw out there, Thorndyke said. But were really young and we still dont know how good we could be yet. Tonights win was a good start toward getting on the right track. Well keep trying to get better each and every day.
Defense comes through for Lumberton
LAURINBURG Lumbertons defense came through early in Tuesdays 4-3 win at Scotland.
After allowing the first three runners to reach, the Pirates had a triple play to end the inning. The play started with a fly ball to centerfield that was caught on a dive by Brian Phillips. Scotlands runners had left without tagging up and were caught out at second and third base.
That was huge because they were jumping on us real quick Lumberton coach Paul Hodges said. Sometimes you need some luck to go your way and Brian made a great play in the outfield.
Lumberton went ahead in the fourth inning with four runs and held the lead the rest of the way.
Raleigh Forrest got the win for Lumberton.
Purnell Swett routs Hoke
RAEFORD Purnell Swett took advantage of a big inning in a 12-7 win at Hoke Tuesday.
The Rams scored eight runs in the third inning to go up 8-1 and never lost the lead. Swett finished with 13 hits, including a 3-for-5 day from Christian Locklear. Austin Lee Locklear got the win.
St. Pauls 10-runs E. Columbus
ST. PAULS Late scoring by St. Pauls ended with a 14-4 win over East Columbus in six innings Tuesday in St. Pauls.
The Bulldogs took a 4-3 lead in the third inning, then had seven runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to end it.
St. Pauls finished with 16 hits, getting three each from Jhamel Leonard, Dustin Canady and Jacob Locklear.
Fairmont softball wins in 4
RED SPRINGS The Fairmont softball team used patience at the plate in a 19-4 win at Red Springs Tuesday.
The Lady Tornadoes scored 19 runs on only five hits in a four-inning win.
Scotland softball beat Lumberton
LAURINBURG The Lumberton softball team in the middle innings of a 9-6 loss at Scotland Tuesday.
The Lady Pirates had a 3-1 lead after the second inning, but allowed seven combined runs in the fourth and fifth.
Lumberton catcher Taylor Hammonds was injured early in the game, which led to two catching changes for the Pirates. Hammonds status for the rest of the week was not clear Wednesday morning, coach Mackie Register said.
Joy Church led Lumberton with a two-run home run and Summer Prevatte went 2-for-4.