PEMBROKE — Things are starting to click for the Purnell Swett baseball team.
The Rams topped Red Springs 8-3 in a non-conference affair on Wednesday night for their fourth win in the last six games. It was a welcome sight for head coach Jeff Lamb after his team dropped the first 11 games of the season.
“We’re making routine plays now, things we were struggling with early in the year,” Lamb said. “We now seem to be putting it together. We’re doing what we need to do to get wins.”
Jeremiah Locklear and Eugene Wilkins both saw action on the mound for the Rams (5-13). Locklear went 4 2/3 innings and tallied seven strikeouts while allowing one run on three hits. Wilkins took the mound for the rest of the game, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out four Red Devils (11-6).
“Jeremiah struggled most of the night, but he got it done. He competed and did what he had to do,” Lamb said. “Eugene came in and closed the door.”
Chandler Brayboy finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for Purnell Swett.
“I’m getting a lot more relaxed, seeing a lot more pitches,” Brayboy said.
Troy McGirt added two RBIs for the Rams.
Purnell Swett backed up its pitchers by making contact against Phillip Locklear, Jeritt Taylor and Jayshawn Carthen, the trio of Red Devils who took the mound over the course of the game.
After picking up a run on an error in the first inning, the Rams struck again with three runs in the second inning.
Trevan Locklear started the rally by stealing third base after registering a leadoff double. Johnnie Lowry scored Locklear with a sacrifice fly.
Brayboy notched an RBI single with the bases loaded later in the inning, and another run crossed the plate when McGirt was hit by a pitch.
Red Springs scored its first run of the game when Taylor hit a grounder to Brayboy in the fourth inning. Oliver Brooks scored from third on the play, while Jordan Locklear successfully escaped from a rundown at second base.
Brayboy drew a walk with the bases loaded to drive in a run in the fourth inning. Noah Evington and McGirt followed with RBI groundouts to build Purnell Swett’s lead to six runs.
The Rams scored their final run on an RBI single by Brandon Brewer in the fifth inning.
The Red Devils rallied to score two runs in the seventh inning after Gabriel Locklear started the surge with an RBI double, but Wilkins closed out the inning without letting Red Springs close the deficit any further.
“An early lead always helps a lot. You get in the ballgame and you get your confidence up,” Brayboy said. “You have better at-bats and things like that.”
The junior shortstop said a lack of talent was never an issue for the Rams early in the season. The biggest challenge was figuring out which roles each of their players could fill.
“At the beginning of the season we had a lot of talent on the team,” Brayboy said. “You don’t know where to put certain people. We found that out, so we’re good now.”
In the softball game, Purnell Swett defeated Red Springs 24-2 in five innings.
For the Lady Rams, Magan Barton had a pair of doubles with four RBIs, Shyane Oxendine had a three-RBI triple, Katlyn Jones added a pair of RBIs and Reagan Locklear had two RBIs and a double.
Katelyn Culbreth plated one of the two runs from the Lady Red Devils in the first inning.
Lumberton routs Seventy-First for soccer win
LUMBERTON — Behind a hat trick from Lacey Malinsky, the Lumberton girls soccer team defeated Seventy-First at home in an 10-1 mercy-rule victory.
Malinsky scored a goal in the 10th minute and then added two second-half goals, with her last ending the contest with four minutes left. She also added a pair of assists in the match as well. Brittany Ward, Christina Dickerson and Logan Cameron each added two goals apiece. Sallee Jones added a second-half goal for the Lady Pirates as well.
In other soccer action, Pinecrest shut out Purnell Swett in a 9-0 affair.
In boys tennis action, Pinecrest eased to an 8-1 win on the road over Purnell Swett. The Rams’ lone win came from the No. 2 doubles team of Ben Brooks and Pacey Brooks. St. Pauls earned a 9-0 win over East Bladen on the road.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.