ROCKINGHAM — Opening night couldn’t have gone any better for Greyson Way and the Richmond Senior softball team.
After struggling to hit the ball this past weekend, the Lady Raiders saw every batter in their starting lineup record at least one hit in Tuesday’s home game. Way went 4-4 on the night and finished with two home runs in the 10-4 victory over Lee County.
“We had three scrimmages Saturday, and from top to bottom, we didn’t hit the ball really well. So it was really good for us to hit one through nine and give some of these younger girls some confidence,” coach Wendy Wallace said. “And Greyson hit the ball well all night.”
Way’s first at-bat was a lead-off homerun in the bottom of the second inning, after going down 0-1 in the count. Her other hits were a single in third, a two-run homer in the fifth and another base hit in the sixth. The sophomore also scored two runs.
Owen Bowers and NaLee Jacobs each had two hits, with Bowers knocking one out of the park in the sixth inning and bringing in Jadyn Johnson. In total, the Lady Raiders finished with 14 hits in the win.
“I was really pleased with the way we hit the ball tonight,” Wallace added.
Richmond (1-0) held a 6-1 lead after five innings, but Jacobs — the Lady Raiders’ pitcher — found herself in a little bit of trouble at the top of the sixth when a lead-off walk and back-to-back singles loaded the bases for Lee County. Before she was able to work her way out of the jam, the Lady Yellow Jackets scored three runs on a walk and RBI singles from Kalei Sloan and Savannah Brown, respectively.
Those runs cut Richmond’s lead to just two heading into the bottom of the sixth.
“I was wondering, with us being young and giving up three runs, how they were going to respond when they came back in,” Wallace said. “Jadyn (Johnson) started it off, as a freshman, and hit a triple. Owen stepped up and got a hit….then NaLee stepped in and they just kept passing it down. It was really good to see how well they responded.”
Johnson’s lead-off triple was the first of four consecutive hits for Richmond, as Bowers’ two-run homer, Way’s single and Jacobs’ double followed the freshman’s only hit of the night. Mackenzie Webb grounded out on the next at-bat, but freshman Kayla Hawkins recorded a 2-RBI double and gave Richmond the six-run lead.
“Stepping in there tonight, they didn’t look like freshmen. They played solid defense,” Wallace said of Johnson and Hawkins. “I think they’ll get better and better at the plate the more pitching they see and the more experience they get.”
It was three up and three down for Lee County in the top of the last inning, as Jacobs earned her seventh strikeout of the night on the lead-off batter. A fly ball and a groundout would end the non-conference matchup.
“They (Lee County) have an excellent program and are one of the big 3A schools we’ll face this year,” Wallace said. “And NaLee pitched a really good game. She settled down in that inning when we got the bases loaded and she worked herself out of it. That was big.”
The Lady Raiders are right back at it Wednesday, as they will host Marlboro Academy at 6 p.m.
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The Richmond Senior softball team welcomes junior catcher Owen Bowers to home plate after she hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bowers finished the night with two hits in Richmond’s 10-4 victory over Lee County in its season opener Tuesday evening.