Dragons beat Panthers
CHESAPEAKE -- A lot of baseball pitchers would have called it a day after taking a come-backer to the lower leg like Fairland pitcher Kyle Raines took in the fourth inning off the bat of Chesapeake's Dennis Sanchez.
But after lying in a heap with a grimace on his face for a few minutes, Raines got back up and finished a seven-inning complete game victory over the rival Panthers, 5-4, while compiling 10 strikeouts.
"He gutted it out," said Fairland coach Bryan Ward. "You know, Kyle's a senior and he's pitched for me for three years, and there's no getting him out of a game. It's Chesapeake, and he wants to throw. You'd have to have broken something to get him out of that game."
Ward said the ball hit Raines between the calf and the ankle, around his Achilles tendon.
"It still hurts, but I had to battle for my team," Raines said. "I went into this thinking if I get the start I'm going to finish."
The game probably got a little bit more dramatic than Fairland wanted. The Dragons entered the bottom of the seventh with a 5-2 lead, and Raines got a pop-out after a long at bat from Brett Curry, then struck out cleanup hitter Joe Bias.
Down to its last out, Chesapeake got a walk and three hits to bring one run home and load the bases. A wild pitch from Raines brought another runner in, and suddenly the Fairland lead was down to one.
Bobby Arthur was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to load the bases back up when Jacob Henson grounded out to end the game.
"We bobbled it around a few times, but the defense was there when we needed it," Raines said.
The Dragons (5-4) got out to an early start, putting up four runs in the first three innings, while Chesapeake was only able to generate one.
"I was glad we jumped out like that," Raines said. "It's always more comfortable pitching with a lead."
Fairland would move the score to 5-1 in the top of the fourth, before Raines took the shot to the leg in the bottom of the inning.
Chesapeake got its second run in the fourth, but Raines struck out Jacob Henson with the bases loaded to end that threat.
In all, the Panthers left the bases loaded three times and stranded 12 runners in the contest.
On several occasions, Chesapeake was one big hit away from breaking the game open, but that big hit never came.
Ward said he thought the difference in the contest was that his team put the ball in play more, while Chesapeake suffered double-digit strikeouts, often times looking at strike three instead of swinging the bat.
"We're trying to preach to our kids to put the ball in play," Ward said. "We struck out 13 times Monday night (at Rock Hill) and all we worked on Tuesday was contact, contact, contact."
Chesapeake coach Ray Boster said he thought the strikeouts were indicative of the inexperience of his team. The Panthers (5-5) start five sophomores, three freshmen and one senior.
Still they've managed to stay competitive, getting within striking distance Wednesday. The Panthers have lost four games by one run.
"We started out with some errors, you take those away and it's a different ball game," he said. "Those first two innings killed us."
Boster pulled his starting left fielder in the top of the third inning, after the player had committed three errors that turned outs or singles into extra base hits and runs.
"Even though we're 10 games into the season, we're still a young team," Boster said. "We're just trying to build a program, and I think our kids have bought into it. They don't give up. We're right there, ready to turn the corner, we just haven't taken that stride yet."
FAIRLAND 211 100 0 -- 5 7 4
CHESAPEAKE 010 100 2 -- 4 11 5
Raines and Scheibelhood; Lester and Morris
Hitting: (F) Ross, 2-4, RBI; Raines 2-3, 3B, RBI, Russell, 2-3; (C) Harris 1-1, RBI, Sanchez 2-2, Walters 2-3.