Rickards first baseman James Thomas had already delivered the game’s big hit. His Raiders teammate Tra’Mayne Holmes claimed the signature moment.
Holmes, a senior shortstop, stole home in the fifth inning in a straight steal, and Thomas trotted home a few moments later on a double-steal, leading Rickards to an 11-4 win over Godby on Friday.
“That’s like something you do on a video game,” Raiders pitcher Andrew Faulkner said of Holmes’ steal. “I’ve never seen that. He’s fast, he’s talented, he’s a good athlete.”
Holmes, Thomas, Kaycee Reese and Dexter Martin all stole two bases, while aggressive base running proved to be the key in the Raiders’ four-run fifth inning. In all, Rickards (11-9) stole 10 bases.
“You see in the (fourth) inning, you put a runner on base because you hit him and he steals a couple bases,” Cougars coach Jayson Strickland said. “A double play could get you out of the inning. But you can’t teach speed, and they’ve got it.”
Godby took a 2-0 lead on the Raiders and Faulkner in the fourth inning via two unearned runs, but Rickards battled back to tie it a half-inning later, keyed by RBIs from Martin and Javon Byrd.
After the Raiders took a 6-2 lead to the sixth, they tacked on five more runs in their next frame, picking up doubles from B.J. Johnson and Reese, and run-scoring hits from Tank Crumitie and Martin, set up by movement on the basepaths.
“That’s Rickards baseball,” Raiders coach Brian Kelley said. “That’s what we’re going to do every time, that’s what we need to do. … That’s the plan from here on out: Get on base, put pressure on the other team, make the other pitchers think about our base runners and not the batter, and see what happens.”
Faulkner (4-1) pitched seven complete and allowed just three hits, while striking out 10.
Charlie Colburn hit a solo home run for Godby (3-16), Ben Lyda singled in a run and Austin King hit a double, but that was all the Cougars could muster off Rickards’ hard-throwing right-hander.