Raiders clinch VCC regular-season title

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007

POWHATAN—Caleb Pearson, Craig Beale and Tyler Lass combined to hit five home runs and eight RBIs Thursday to lead the Southampton Academy Raiders to their first-ever regular season Virginia Commonwealth Conference championship.

Pearson went 3-for-3 with two home runs and a double. Beale went 2-for-3 with two home runs and Lass went 1-for-3 with one home run as SA beat Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot 10-7 in a rain-delayed baseball game.

The Knights struck first with one run in the first inning on two singles off Paul Edwards to take a 1-0 lead.

Beale opened the second inning with his seventh home run of the year. Pearson followed Beale with a blast over the left field fence to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead. The game was then delayed for about an hour due to rain and lightning.

The Knights came out strong after the delay and scored two more runs off Edwards in the third inning to take a 3-2 lead. Pearson put the Raiders back on top with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning.

The Raiders added two more runs in the inning on singles by Edwards, Brandon Tayloe and Quinton Porter to retake the lead 6-3. The Knights loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with no outs, and Lass came in to relieve Edwards. The Knights scored three runs to tie the score at 6-6 after four innings. Both teams were scoreless in the fifth inning.

With darkness looming, the Raiders had only more chance to win the game. Porter walked with one out. Lass followed with his second home run of the year with a shot into the trees in right field. Lee Bain kept the Raiders rolling with a single. Beale then hit a towering blast over the center field fence for his eighth home run of the year to give the Raiders a 10-6 lead.

The Knights managed to get one more run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, but their hopes for a come back were dashed on a great defensive hustle play by Bain.

Lass improved his record to 5-1 while giving up just one run over the last three innings on three hits.

The Raiders improved their overall record to 16-1, 14-1 in the VCC. The Raiders will host a first-round game in the VCC tournament on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. before playing in the state tournament the following week.