ROCKINGHAM — For four innings the Richmond Senior softball team followed the blueprint coach Wendy Wallace designed — play strong defense behind pitcher Summer Jacobs.
Then as the temperature started to dip as the sun went down, so did the Richmond defense.
But its offense managed to score just enough runs to pull out a 3-2 season-opening victory over Anson Wednesday night.
“I told the team after the game we pride ourselves on our defense,” Wallace said. “We are going to make errors, but we have to step up and shut the door. We can’t give any team extra outs.”
Anson took advantage of two errors in the fifth inning to cut Richmond’s lead to one run. Lindsey Haire reached on an error by shortshop Ashton Davenport on a pop up behind the pitching circle. Sally James followed with a single to left. After a strikeout, Olivia Edwards reached on an error by third baseman Doodle Jacobs to load the bases.
Kelsey Harris pushed home Haire with a single for Anson’s first run of the game. The next batter, Kristin Emrich, weakly grounded to Jessica Steen at first. Steen attempted to cut down James at home, but her throw was in the dirt. This allowed James to safely cross the plate and keep the bases loaded with one out.
“I knew we were going to get out of it,” Summer Jacobs said. “If they scored, I knew we would come back.”
Summer Jacobs didn’t allow the Bearcats to tie the game. She struck out Kelsey Brown for the third time in the game and coaxed Katelyn Howell to ground out to end the threat.
“Summer pitched well tonight,” Wallace said.
Summer Jacobs allowed four hits, recorded nine strikeouts and didn’t surrender an earned run in the complete game victory. She believes the miscues were a result of her teammates being a little nervous because it was the season opener and she hopes they have it out of the system when facing Jack Britt.
“That’s probably the reason why,” she said. “We can’t play like that Friday.”
The Raiders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning by taking advantage of two miscues by the Bearcats. Davenport walked with one out and moved to second on Summer Jacobs’ single. Davenport and courtesy runner Bre McKinnon advanced on a dropped infield fly off the bat of Steen. Both Davenport and McKinnon scored unearned runs when James was unable to cleanly field Katie Satterfield’s fly ball to shallow left for an error.
Richmond added its final run in the next frame. Jennifer Steen drew an one-out walk and was replaced by courtesy runner Kelsey Mabe on the basepath. Haleigh Denham plated Mabe with a double off the fence in left-center but was thrown out at third on the play.
Richmond will return to action 4 p.m. Friday when it travels to Fayetteville to square off with Jack Britt.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.