By Brad Crowe
The Raleigh Lions baseball team played a double-header at home Friday evening, in which they came away with one win and one loss. Due to rain and poor field conditions on Thursday, the Lions elected to meet early on Friday to take on Sylva Bay Academy before their game against Lake. The two performances resulted in polar opposite outcomes for the Lions, but they are optimistic about where they stand early in the season.
Despite a slow start, the Lions once again got hot at the plate midway through the first game to pull away from the Saints. A double by Jatron Harris in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Lions to capture the lead. Most of the damage came in the ensuing sixth, with three more Lions runs crossing home plate. After Hunter Dickey reached first on a walk, Troy Blakeney singled to bring Dickey home, and an error on a ball put in play by Jay Nixon resulted in two additional runs.
Dickey was the star of the show for the Lions, pitching a full seven innings and allowing just three hits while striking out ten, including the last batter of the night to give Raleigh a 6-2 victory.
The following match against Lake was tightly contested before fatigue caught up with the Lions midway through the game. Tied 5-5 in the fourth inning, Lake captured the lead with a sacrifice bunt. Things escalated in the fifth with three more runs for Lake to boost their lead to 9-5, and in the seventh they exploded for eight runs and a mercy rule 17-5 victory. With their first loss of the young season, the Lions now sit at 4-1 as they prepare for a home-and-away series against McLaurin next week.
A couple hundred yards away, the Raleigh Lady Lions softball team hosted the Mize Bulldogs and came away with a signature win of their own. Sandrea Hord made the largest impact, going 2-4 from the plate with three RBIs en route to a 7-4 victory. This marked the first win of the season for the Lions (1-3) as well as the first loss of the season for the Bulldogs (3-1). Both squads have little time to dwell on tonight’s contest, as both will travel Saturday morning to play two games in a tournament at Mendenhall High School.