The hoots and hollers should have been coming from Faith Christian’s dugout in the sixth inning Thursday night.
After all, the Patriots were nursing a four-run lead, and their starter, Luke Roberson, was throwing his best game of the young season.
But if observers of Faith Christian’s squad know anything about this season’s team, it’s that nothing comes easy.
An error, a pair of walks and a balk gave Raleigh Grace Christian’s dugout some life, and it wasn’t until all 21 outs were recorded that Faith Christian secured an all-to-close 5-3 victory.
Freshman Landon Roupp struck out the potential game-tying run for the game’s final out in the top of the seventh to give the Patriots (5-4, 3-1 EPIC)) their third league victory.
“It was closer than it should have been,” Patriots coach Greg Clifton said.
Strong pitching has put Faith Christian in contention for the majority of its games this season, but a lack of prowess at the plate and inconsistent defense has undone the work of its staff.
In a loss to Kinston Parrott last week, Faith Christian committed four late errors in losing a two-run lead and ultimately the game.
Thursday’s contest was headed in a similar direction.
Roberson was cruising along before a one-out error in the sixth.
Perhaps tiring a bit, the senior walked the next two batters and committed a balk before inducing an RBI groundout and forcing a lineout to right field to limit the damage at two runs despite not giving up a hit in the frame.
His only pitch of the seventh inning was a hit before Clifton brought in Roupp to finish the game.
Even then, a Patriots error helped bring across a Grace Christian run before Roupp closed out the win.
In all, Faith Christian finished with five errors and just eight hits off Grace Christian’s soft-throwing staff.
“We just have to hit the ball better,” Clifton said.
Clifton said his team is still working on its chemistry. There are enough seniors on the squad, but to reach the state semifinals like it did a year ago, growth will have to occur during the next month of play.
“We have to stop playing like boys and start playing like men,” Roberson said.
Faith Christian 5
Raleigh Grace Christian 3
RGC 000 002 1 – 3 4 0
FCS 210 101 x – 5 8 5
WP: Luke Roberson (6IP, 3R, 1ER, 3H, 3BB, 4K).
2B: Harrison Huntly
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org