Warriors win home opener

Published 4:42 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

MERRY HILL – After splitting their season opener on the road in a two-game series in South Carolina a week ago Lawrence Academy returned to a more familiar setting.

Make that two.

Not only did they play their home opener Monday in Merry Hill, they also returned to playing winning baseball with an 11-2 win over Halifax Academy.

It was the first game for the three-time defending North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state champions before their home fans since last spring.

Jim Porter led the Warrior attack going 4-for-4 – all extra-base hits – as he clouted three doubles and a triple while driving in three runs.  Teammate Scott Edge also drove in that many, with a pair of them coming on a two-run homer.

Robert Thompson went 3-for-4 and scored three runs.

“Jim’s been hot all year, so far,” said assistant coach Jacob Harrell.  “He’s really stepped up a lot hitting from the clean-up spot where with last year’s senior-dominated team he got most of his at-bats from the bottom of the line-up.”

Jesse White went six strong innings for the win on the mound, giving up five hits and striking out eight.  Cameron Blow closed it out in the seventh giving up a base-hit and getting a strikeout.

“He (White) is a young sophomore for us,” said Harrell, “and we’re really expecting big things out of him; with his three-quarter delivery he’s been really impressive early in the year.”

Lawrence opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the first inning.

Ryan Lilley and Thompson opened with back-to-back singles. One out later, Porter plated both runs with a triple all the way to the outfield fence.

Halifax came back to tie the score in the top of the second inning getting an unearned run thanks to a couple of hit batsmen and an error. The other run scoring on a base hit to left field.

Lawrence retook command in the bottom of the second as Tyler Brickhouse walked, moved to third two batters later and came home on Lilley’s sacrifice fly.

In the third inning, Porter doubled and legged it home to score and make it, 4-2, when Darren Armstrong laced a base hit into the gap in left center field.

The Warriors put up a three-spot in the fourth: Mason Hughes singled and later scored on Edge’s first RBI while Porter drove in another run and scored his second run as well to stake the home team to a 7-2 lead.

Lawrence put the game away in the sixth inning, getting four runs as they sent 10 men to the plate.

Thompson opened the assault with a one-out triple then came home on Edge’s homerun over the left field wall.  Porter and Armstrong followed with back-to-back doubles and both later scored to make the Lawrence (2-1) nine-run final.

“We’re very young and it’s showing,” said Harrell. “We’re making a lot of young, mental mistakes but we’ve come a long way in just a week’s time.

“As the weather warms up,” he added, “so will our play.  We’ll be ready when it’s time to defend our state title.”