Baseball fans from both schools got their money’s worth on Thursday, as the Leopards hosted the Raiders and the two teams split the wins. The junior varsity game was all about Lakewood coming from behind for the win, and the varsity game was all about Midway’s bats.
In the varsity game, Midway jumped out to an early lead, batting the entire lineup, plus one, and scoring 8 runs in the second inning alone. By the top of the fifth, the Raiders had put 6 more runs on the board.
The Leopards put forth a gallant effort in the bottom of the fifth when Jayden Herring got involved in a desperate run-down at home plate to at least put one run on the board, but he was tagged out as he slid into home. This advanced Logan Brewer to third and then Ross Strickland stole second to again put players in scoring position with two outs.
It just wasn’t meant to be, as a sharp hit by Garit Hall to short stop and then a strong throw by Heath Smith to first ended the inning and the game. The final score was 0-14.
“We played great. Our intensity was fine. In the field we were fine. Taylor (Calcutt) pitched good for three innings and then Tyler came on and did a good job. All in all, I think our boys hit the ball very well,” an had very good pitching and hit the ball very well,” Raider head coach Jason Fussell said after a brief conference with his team after the game.
Taylor Calcutt started off pitching for the Raiders and in 3 innings he struck out 7 batters, allowed no hits, or walks. Tyler Pope pitched the last 2 innings and put down 3 batters, allowed 1 hit, and 1 base on balls.
On offense, Calcutt was 2-4 with 4 RBIs; Heath Smith, 2-2; Tyler Hawley was 1-3 with 2 RBIs; Cody Baker was 2-2, 2 RBIs; Luke Clark, 1-4, 3 RBIs; Matt Barefoot, 1-3 with 2 RBIs; Jansen Wrench, 2-4 with 1 RBI; Troy Spell was 1-1.
Midway is now 2-0 in conference and 4-0 overall. Their next game is at Gray’s Creek on Monday night. The Raiders then travel to Pender on Tuesday, and host James Kenan on Friday night.
Lakewood head coach Larry Bass complimented the Raiders on their batting, but said the Leopards pitching just wasn’t up to par, either.
“They are a very good hitting team, always have been, and they jumped on us early. Our pitchers were not hitting their spots tonight. I guess it’s all about they hit and we didn’t. You’ve got to be prepared to play a team as good as Midway and I don’t think we were prepared,” he said candidly.
For the Leopards, Jayden Herring and Ross Strickland each got one hit.
Lakewood will host Village Christian on Monday. They travel to James Kenan on Tuesday and then host Hobbton on Friday.
The Leopard JV stole one from the Raiders in the last inning to keep their record perfect so far this season. Lakewood was down 5-0 in the 6th inning and then came back in the last inning and scored 6 runs for the win - 3 of those runs with 2 outs looming over their heads.
Lakewood coaches Sylvester Pittman and Jay Faircloth were excited about the win. “It was a great win today. Our kids showed great intestinal fortitude to battle back like they did,” Pittman stated.
Faircloth called the team “warriors”. “They believe they are winners. They are aggressive and go for the jugular. They are warriors and battle all game long. Toby Spell pitched 4 innings and he was unstoppable,” Faircloth stressed.
J.C. Alexander, Midway JV head coach, said it was a fiercely competive game and he was proud of the way his team played despite the loss. “This game was hard fought from the beginning. Our boys played their hearts out tonight,” he said.
One standout for Midway, according to Coach Alexander, was Tray Wood, who pitched 5 full innings and got 5 strikeouts. On offense, he had 3 hits and 1 homerun.