The Raleigh Lions baseball team grabbed its eight win of the season on Saturday with a 15-5 home victory over the Forest Bearcats. The Lions’ bats got hot early, and they continued to pour it on until the game was called in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The key to jumping ahead early for the home team was patience at the plate, as the Lions drew six walks in the bottom of the first inning. A sacrifice fly hit to right field by junior Zane Gilpin allowed fellow junior Hunter Dickey to score from third base, and a wild throw from the right fielder made way for sophomore Travis Blakeney to reach home from second.
Two more runs were added due to a balk and a wild pitch, then sophomore Ryan Purvis singled to left field to bring home senior Jacob Hutchison for the first earned run of the afternoon. In the bottom of the second, senior Nick Grimme singled on a fly ball to centerfield to bring Dickey in for another run, putting the Lions ahead 6-0 in the contest.
After surrendering three runs to the Bearcats in the top of the third, Raleigh retook the plate and put away the game with a nine-run performance in the fourth.
Hutchinson doubled to left field, allowing seniors Braxton Burkett and Garrett Bradshaw to score. Hutchinson crossed home plate himself shortly thereafter on a single by Dickey. Grimme delivered another big hit in the side, doubling on a grounder between second and third base to score two more runs. By the end of the inning, the Lions has amassed a 15-4 advantage.
However, the game had to continue because the 10-run rule does not come into play until the fifth inning of MHSAA competition. The Bearcats did manage to add one run to the board in the top of the fifth, but they were unable to cut the lead below double digits, and the game was called after five and a half innings.
Dickey, Grimme and Hutchinson each delivered multiple hits to lead the offense. Dickey was 2-for-2 at the plate with three runs, two RBI and got on base twice more with walks. Grimme and Hutchinson both went 2-for-3 and combined for three runs and five RBI. Gilpin pitched in two runs and two RBI, and Burkett scored three runs as well.
The winning pitcher for the Lions was Logan Brock, who allowed four runs on five hits in three innings of action. Senior John Paul Breaux pitched two innings of relief and allowed just one run on two hits while striking out four.
The victory over Forest was Raleigh’s fourth in its last five contests, and its 4-2 success rate in division play has landed them in third place in Region 6-3A standings.
The Lions hope to carry that momentum with them into the first week of April, in which they will play a home-and-away series against the Saints of St. Andrew’s Episcopal, a division opponent riding a six-game winning streak with a 6-0 record in division play. The Lions will end the week with a home exhibition match against the Bay Springs Bulldogs on Saturday.