Warriors roll by Ridgecroft

Published 5:21 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MERRY HILL – With games against Rocky Mount Academy on Monday and Cape Fear Christian on Thursday, the Lawrence Academy baseball team squeezed in a Tarheel Independent Conference game with rival, Ridgecroft.

But with a 22-1 win under threatening skies Tuesday afternoon, that was about the only squeezing the Warriors needed to do.

Lawrence put up five runs in the first inning, a couple more in the second and then really cashed in thanks to 10-of-13base-on-balls in the fourth to take the contest which was shortened to five innings.

In fact, the Warriors had nearly twice as many walks (13) as hits (8).

Every player on the Lawrence roster scored at least one run with Scott Edge and Darren Armstrong scoring three runs before they were replaced by reserves.

On the mound, Jim Porter threw no-hit ball for his four innings of work before giving way to young left-hander, Dallas Belch, who gave up a run, but not a hit.

“The one thing we preach to our guys no matter who we play is to try to focus on playing baseball the way we’re capable of,” said Lawrence coach Robert Kravitz. “We’re big believers that small things lead to big things and today we did a lot of small things right.”

A walk, back-to-back singles, and another walk accounted for Lawrence’s first three runs before Rams right-hander Woody Lowe was called for a questionable balk that led to another run crossing the plate and bringing Ridgecroft Head Coach Brandon Hodges out of the dugout in protest.

“I’m working hard and my kids are working hard,” said a much calmer Hodges after the game. “Both teams are working hard, and all we expect is for the umpires to work hard. That’s all I’m going to say.

“I was out there supporting my kids,” he added, “and I think any coach would’ve done that.”

Lawrence got another run to close out the inning with a 5-0 lead.

They came back and got another pair of runs in the second inning to make it 7-0.

In the third inning, with two out, Robert Thompson was hit by a pitch, and stole second.  Perry Wynns followed with what should have been the third out, but the ball was misplayed by the Rams for a two-base error and an unearned run to make the score 8-0.

Kravitz began to substitute in the fourth inning and Hodges began to juggle his pitchers – who had just come off a game on Monday against Pungo – and the Warriors took advantage.

At one point, Ridgecroft walked in four straight runs which upped quite a few players’ on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Lawrence’s Luke Leary came off the bench to pinch-hit and used his time at the plate to drive in a couple of runs.

In all, Lawrence sent 20 batters to the plate and scored 14 runs.

Ridgecroft got the satisfaction of not leaving Merry Hill being shut out, after a pair of walks and a stolen base, Lowe scored for the Rams on a passed ball to get one Ridgecroft number on the scoreboard.

“We’re probably the youngest varsity team in the whole nation right now,” said Hodges, “but I’m proud of my kids and we’ll get better over time.”

Lawrence, meanwhile, upped their record to 13-3 and despite postponing the game with Virginia’s Greenbrier Christian on Saturday due to weather they picked up a 2-1 win over RMA on Monday.

The Warriors can add to their win total when they host Cape Fear Christian of Erwin on Thursday. The Eagles are currently ranked fifth in the NCISAA poll, with Lawrence second.

“It’ll be a good test for us,” said Kravitz, “and hopefully we’ll respond well.”