SA standout shines on his birthday

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

COURTLAND-Besides getting hit in the back by a pitch in his last at-bat, Southampton Academy’s Paul Edwards had a pretty good 18th birthday.

Edwards scattered five hits, struck out 10 batters and went 2-for-2 at the plate in the Raiders’ 6-1 win over Richmond Christian School Monday.

Edwards, who allowed one unearned run, picked up his first win of the season in six innings of work. Tyler Lass pitched the seventh inning and struck out two. Southampton Academy head coach Tim Lass decided to take Edwards out with a five-run lead.

&uot;That’s his best performance so far. We were going with him as long as we could. Normally he can go 100 pitches, and we were right there and had a five-run lead, so I decided to bring in Tyler because we needed to get him in one inning before Thursday’s game,&uot; Lass said.

The Raiders (3-4 overall, 3-3 in the Virginia Commonwealth Conference) took control of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Cameron Ray blasted a one-out triple off the right-field fence to get things going off starter Dale Langford. Ray scored on a single up the middle by Edwards. Matthew Pitts then reached base on a throwing error by RCS thirdbaseman Jay Drogaris. Marshall Dunn followed with an RBI single up the middle. When Dunn stole second base, RCS catcher Josh Clements threw the ball to second, allowing Pitts to score the third run.

The teams did not score again until the bottom of the fifth, when the Raiders plated three runs. Pitts led off the inning with a double down the right-field line. He moved to third on a bad throw back to the infield on a flyout by Dunn. Robert Poland walked and stole second. Again, on the steal, Pitts scampered home when the Warriors’ Clements threw the ball down to second. After another walk to Blake Drewry, Garrett Smith lined a double to left field to clear the bases.

The Warriors scored an unearned run in the sixth. Drogaris reached base on an infield single, stole second and moved to third on an error. He later scored on a groundout by Tyler Grant.

Despite the loss of a good chunk of his state championship team to graduation, Lass believes his young team is starting to hit its stride.

&uot;We lost a lot, but we hope to be one of the top four teams in the conference by the end of the year,&uot; he said. &uot;We do not get a multitude of hits, so we’ve got to score runs by bunting and stealing, any way we can. Last year we hit 22 home runs; this year we have two so far.&uot;

Southampton Academy will have two important Virginia Commonwealth Conference games at the end of the week. The Raiders travel to Brunswick Academy on Thursday and to Tidewater Academy on Friday.