Raiders#8217; baseball season ends

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Southampton Academy’s baseball team lost 7-3 to Kenston Forest School in the first round of the Virginia Commonwealth Conference Tournament to end the Raiders’ season.

The Raiders faced the tough task of playing the No. 2 team in the state in the first round. Kenston Forest had a record of 12-4 entering the tournament. The Raiders, defending state champs in Virginia Independent Schools Division 3, were the No. 7 seed in the VCC with a record of 5-11. The Kavaliers had beaten the Raiders 11-5 the week before.

Paul Edwards hit a two-out single in the top of the first inning to get the Raiders started. He advanced to third base on a Kavalier error. He was left stranded at third to end the top half of the first.

The Kavaliers scored two runs in the first and one in the second to take a 3-0 lead.

The Raiders bounced back with one out in the third. Tyler Lass hit a triple down the right-field line. With two outs, Edwards hit a double to left field to score Lass and close the gap to 3-1. Edwards was able to battle out of the bottom of the third inning after the first two batters got on base. Edwards got the next batter to ground into a double play before retiring the last batter on a fly out.

The Kavaliers added two unearned runs in the fourth inning. After retiring the first two batters, Edwards walked the next batter. The Raiders then made two infield errors to allow the Kavaliers to extend their lead to 5-1 after four innings.

The Raiders were held scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. Lass relieved Edwards in the fifth. The Kavaliers were able to score two runs on four hits in the sixth inning to take a 7-1 lead going into the seventh.

Ryan Suits led off the top of the seventh for the Raiders with his first home run of the year. Jacob Rose then grounded out for the first out. Lass hit a single to right field and advanced to second base on an error by the right fielder. Blake Drewry struck out for the Raiders’ second out. Edwards reached first base on an infield error, and Lass scored the third run on the error.

Matthew Pitts was then hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second and two outs, Cameron Ray hit a line drive to right field that first appeared to be out of reach; however, the right fielder made a great catch to end the game and end the Raiders’ season.

The Raiders were led all season by the hitting of Edwards and Lass. Edwards finished the season with a .549 batting average. He led the conference with 13 doubles. He also hit two home runs, had 21 RBIs, scored 17 runs and stole 16 bases. Lass was second on the team with a .433 batting average. He hit 7 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs. He scored 22 runs and led the VCC with 20 stolen bases. Marshall Dunn and Matthew Pitts both had a .245 batting average for the Raiders.

SA’s pitching staff consisted of Edwards, Lass, Ray, Drewry, Wade Martin, Suits and Pitts. Once again Edwards led the team with three victories and a 3.55 ERA. Lass had two victories and two saves.

Three Raiders were recognized by the VCC for their efforts this year. Edwards and Lass were selected to the VCC All-Conference team. Dunn was selected to the VCC All-Academic team.

The Raider baseball team will miss its three seniors: Edwards, Dunn and Robert Poland. The returning players will be juniors Lass and Pitts; sophomores Ryan Dunn, Martin, Ray, Rose and Suits; and freshmen Drewry and Garrett Smith. The JV baseball team finished a very successful season with a record of 10-2.

With nine returning players and key JV players moving up to the varsity level, the Raiders look forward to returning to their winning ways next season, said head coach Tim Lass.