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Apr. 28—PEMBROKE — No one who saw Tuesday’s season-opening baseball game between Purnell Swett and Richmond will describe it as the best-played game they’ve ever witnessed. Both teams left the field after the three-hour contest with plenty to work on before they meet again Friday in Rockingham.

But Purnell Swett’s offense did enough to overcome some of the team’s mistakes and earn a 10-9 win over the Raiders.

“It was a marathon,” Purnell Swett coach Jeff Lamb said. “We battled. We did what we had to do to find a win; it wasn’t pretty.”

Will Brooks impacted the game both as a pitcher and a hitter for the Rams (1-0, 1-0 Sandhills Athletic Conference). He entered on the mound in the midst of a seven-run fourth inning that gave Richmond an 8-7 lead — with a home run by Colin Wheeler, his first batter faced, accounting for the sixth and seventh runs in the frame — but retired the next batter to end the inning and allowed two hits over the final three innings.

“We’re really impressed with Will,” Lamb said. “He came in and pitched to contact — that seems to be a lost art these days. Everybody’s all about the numbers, but ideally, if a guy goes in and can pitch to contact, he can get his pop-ups and ground balls, and you saw what happened.”

“When I came up there and that dude hit that tank on me, that kind of got me in a slump,” Brooks said. “But I had to stay up, and then just come back, stay in it.”

Purnell Swett tied the game in the bottom of the fourth after four straight batters walked, including an RBI walk by Jonathon Jacobs. One inning later, after Kylan Ransom singled, stole second and advanced to third on an error, the Rams took a 9-8 lead on a Brooks RBI groundout.

Brooks then added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single to score Braeden Oxendine — a run that proved to be pivotal when Richmond scored a run in the seventh on an RBI groundout before Brooks got the next batter out to seal the win.

“I was going up there just thinking how I could help the team, thinking how I could do my best to do that, and I delivered,” Brooks said.

Random had three hits, three runs and an RBI for Purnell Swett and Oxendine had three hits. Cameron Fields and Mason Locklear each scored twice. Ethan Wilkins had three RBIs.

Wheeler and Matthew Walker each had two RBIs for Richmond (0-1, 0-1 SAC) and Alston Johnson and Michael Pettitt each scored twice.

The teams combined for 17 walks in the game. Purnell Swett left eight men on base in their six turns at bat, including seven over the last three innings.

“We were a hit away,” Lamb said. “A lot of seniors came up in those situations, and hopefully they’re going to grow from it, and as we move forward hopefully we’ll get better.”

Purnell Swett scored two runs in the first on a double steal of home, scoring Fields, and an Oxendine RBI single. The Rams added four more in the second, with one on a wild pitch and three on a bases-clearing double by Wilkins, for a 6-0 lead.

Richmond got on the board with a run scored on a wild pitch in the third, and the Rams matched on a Kylan Ransom solo home run in the bottom half, making it 7-1.

The Raiders’ seven-run fourth inning started with two walks in the first three batters, with the other reaching on a dropped third strike. One run scored on an error, the next on a Will Dawkins infield single and a third run scored on a wild pitch. Walker had a two-RBI double to pull the Raiders to within a run at 7-6, then Wheeler’s two-run home run gave the Raiders the lead.

The Rams coming from behind to earn the win after what transpired in the fourth gives the team momentum as they begin their season.

“It was actually a pretty big win because usually Richmond comes out on top,” Brooks said. “We wanted this dub, we needed this dub. It was kind of a nailbiter, but we’re happy we came through; they’re one of the hardest teams to beat and we needed this to set the season up right.”

Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.