ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior softball coach Wendy Wallace and assistant coach Shellie Wimpey sat in the outfield with four players for about 30 minutes following Wednesday’s 7-0 loss to Whiteville.
A lot was talked about in the post-game meeting — which involved senior pitchers NaLee Jacobs and Mackenzie Ward and juniors Brianna Baysek and Owen Bowers — but Wallace said her main points involved being more focused and limiting the amount of runs given up.
“Our defense is doing a good job of making the plays, but we’ve just got to more focused when we’re facing big teams and big hitters,” Wallace explained. “They (Whiteville) came out hungry and were very aggressive at the plate. We’ve got to be a little bit tougher throwing to big hitters.”
The Lady Raiders (17-3, 8-0 SEC) scored no runs and struggled to hit the ball in their last game during the break, while allowing seven runs on 10 hits. Jacobs gave up eight hits and five runs in the first six innings. Ward came in at the top of the final inning to relieve her counterpart, giving up two hits and two runs.
Whiteville recorded four home runs on the day, as it picked up a two-run homer in the second inning and then a solo homer in the third in order to take a 3-0 lead. Senior Sage McLelland hit a two-run homer in fifth inning and then hit another in the seventh to cap things off for the Lady Wolfpack.
Tori Mabe led off for Richmond in the bottom of the seventh inning and was able to get to first base after being walked. Ward would then advance Mabe to second with a single — her only hit of the game.
The Lady Raiders couldn’t capitalize on the quick spark, however, as Peyton Fann’s ball was caught out of bounds, Jadyn Johnson struck out and Savannah Lampley hit one that led to Layne Maultsby being tagged out at second base.
Richmond would finish with four hits (Bowers, Jacobs, Mabe, Ward) in the non-conference defeat.
“I felt like early in the game we were swinging at a lot of high pitches…And then I felt like we got down in the count a little bit later in the game,” Wallace said. “We have to have a better approach at the plate the next time we see them.”
The two teams will meet again next Saturday, Apr. 29, at Whiteville to close out the regular season.
“If we can get the six, seven, eight and nine spots to be a little more consistent at the plate and have quality at-bats to get runners on — even if its a walk or a base hit. Just for them to get on so the top of our lineup can roll back,” Wallace added. “That’s going to be the difference in how far we make it in the playoffs.”
Before it thinks about getting revenge, however, Richmond will focus on its last two conference games next week. The Lady Raiders will travel to Laurinburg on Tuesday (Apr. 25) and then host Scotland on Friday (Apr. 28).
Wallace says it’ll be important that her team hits the reset button and is ready next week because, no matter where they may be in the conference standings, the Lady Scots are going to play tough.
“Refocus, reenergize and go,” Wallace said. “I feel like our fate lies in our pitchers’ hands. We’ll be as good as they are on the mound. But that’s what you want because those are your leaders.
“And Mackenzie and NaLee have done excellent. They’ll refocus and pitch well,” she continued. “We’ll ride them as far as they want to take us.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.