ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior softball team earned a 5-4 victory Wednesday night despite a rally from Pinecrest in the last two innings.
Richmond held a 5-0 lead after five innings but couldn’t keep Pinecrest off the board, as the Lady Patriots made the game “exciting” by scoring two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Alyssa Drake’s RBI double in the sixth was then followed by Brianna Reaves’s RBI single in order to bring Pinecrest within three runs.
After the Lady Raiders were retired in order in the bottom of the sixth, Drake hit a 2-RBI single with two outs and the bases loaded — she would find her way to second on an error in Richmond’s outfield.
Kennedy Wagner was unable to take advantage of runners being on second and third base, however, as her groundout ended the second-round matchup and helped Richmond advance to the conference tournament championship game.
“They (Pinecrest) did what they had to do. You’ve got to give to them,” coach Wendy Wallace said. “They put the bat to the ball, put pressure on us and kept getting people on base.”
Mackenzie Ward came in to pitch after NaLee Jacobs gave up no runs on four hits and had two strikeouts in the first five innings. Ward would allow four runs on six hits in the final two innings.
“We made a pitching change. Not because of anything NaLee was doing wrong. We just needed to put Mackenzie in that situation,” Wallace explained. “We’re trying to plan ahead to make sure everybody’s got that experience no matter where they have to come in during the game.”
Greyson Way’s solo home runs in the bottom of the first and fifth innings, respectively, was a key part in the Lady Raiders taking the early lead. Those two homers put the sophomore infielder at 15 on the season and 22 for her career — both school records.
“I think the first few times we played Pinecrest…they kind of pitched around her. I don’t know if she had a hit,” coach Wendy Wallace said. “But she had a great day this past Saturday and another great day today. She’s seeing the ball really well and that always helps when she’s hitting.”
Richmond (21-3) faces Lumberton — who blanked Hoke County 10-0 in the other semifinal matchup — in the conference tournament championship game Friday evening.
“We’ve got to stay focused on what we were doing. We want to build and continue on a positive note going into the (state) playoffs,” Wallace added.
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Richmond Senior’s Greyson Way (17) looks the ball in as Pinecrest’s Katelyn Chisholm (9) makes her way to first base. Way’s two solo homers helped the Lady Raiders to a 5-4 victory Wednesday evening.