Edwards shines in SA’s tourney opener

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007

COURTLAND—Paul Edwards pitched five strong innings and went 3-for-3 at the plate, including a grand slam, to lead Southampton Academy to an 11-3 win over Fuqua School in the first round of the Virginia Commonwealth Conference baseball tournament Tuesday.

The Raiders, who have won 15 straight games, will face either Kenston Forest or Blessed Sacrament Huguenot on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Brunswick Academy. The winner of that game will play in the tournament championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the same site.

Edwards allowed six hits and struck out seven.

Fuqua (5-11) looked tough at the beginning of the contest. The Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Cody Meadows cracked a ground-rule double to center and later scored on a bloop single to center by Adam Soathall.

The Fuqua lead held until the third inning, when the Raiders (18-1) exploded for six runs. SA used its bats and running game to score two quick runs in the frame. With one out, Quinton Porter singled to left and stole second. Tyler Lass followed with a run-scoring single to right and stole second. Lee Bain drove Lass home with a single to left, and he also stole second. Meadows, Fuqua’s starter, then walked Craig Beale. Meadows got Caleb Pearson to pop into an infield fly, which was dropped, but both base runners advanced. Meadows walked Robbie Ballard, and up stepped Edwards with the bases loaded and two outs.

Batting seventh in the lineup, Edwards crushed a 3-2 fastball over the left-field fence to put SA up 6-1.

&uot;That was a big hit for us. We were struggling with two outs,&uot; said Tim Lass, SA head coach. &uot;That was his third homer this season. He’s hitting .368 for the year. He’s a good hitter. We just have good hitters up and down

the lineup.&uot;

Lass said his senior-laden team has not panicked all season when it was down.

&uot;We have come back in the last few innings to win games. They have a lot of confidence in themselves. They stay in the game and don’t put too much pressure on themselves,&uot; he said.

The Raiders added a run in the fourth on a double by Lass.

Fuqua made the game interesting in the fifth when Andrew Potter cracked a solo shot over the left field fence and Soathall drove in a run with a single.

Leading 7-3, the Raiders exploded again in the fifth inning. Brandon Tayloe and Lass had RBI singles and Jack Britt belted a two-run double to put SA up 11-3.

Lass pitched the final two innings for SA, allowing no hits and striking out two.