Although 9-4 overall, the Lady Raiders have a perfect 7-0 record in the MSEC. Richmond holds a game-and-a-half lead over second-place Scotland (10-2, 5-1) and are two full games ahead of third-place Jack Britt (8-4, 5-2).
Richmond came-from-behind to defeat Scotland 4-3 on March 27, and squeaked out a 3-2 victory over the Lady Buccaneers before the break.
“Those were two big one-run victories for our team that has allowed us to have a little bit of breathing room in the conference,” Lady Raiders coach Wendy Wallace said. “We were able to get some timely hits in the crucial parts of those games that helped us win.”
According to Wallace the Lady Raiders’ bottom of the lineup have started to produce consistency and helped push runs across. Wallace added that Brittany Tedder has ignited the top of the lineup with a batting average of .405 along with a team-leading four home runs and 12 runs batted in.
“I feel like up and down our lineup we have done a solid job of putting the bat on the ball, and hopefully we will continue to get good production at the plate,” Wallace said.
Wallace has been encouraged by the play of her defense, which she admitted will be the biggest key of what the Lady Raiders can accomplish this season.
“Right now, we’ve played good on defense and haven’t given teams extra outs,” Wallace said. “Hopefully, we don’t have any games like last year when we cost ourselves a couple games by committing too many errors.”
Wallace is hoping injuries don’t derail the team’s conference chances like last season either, when starter Maggie McKenzie suffered a season-ending knee injury. McKenzie has returned to the mound and has posted a 7-4 record this season. McKenzie is averaging nine strikeouts a game along with a 0.97 ERA. But McKenzie is still trying to regain the form that made her dominant on the mound before the injury.
“Maggie is getting stronger, but she still is not where she was before she got hurt,” Wallace said. “This season, she has given up more hits, and she isn’t throwing quite as hard as last season. There have been games when she starts to tire once the game get to the late innings, but all those things were to be expected after coming back from a serious injury. The biggest thing we’re working on with her is getting movement with the ball and hitting her spots.”
The Lady Raiders have a good shot of remaining undefeated in the conference when they host last place Westover today at 5 p.m. Wallace said Tedder or junior varsity call-up Casey Snead will start on the mound. Snead pitched three innings in Richmond’s 15-0 win over Westover back on March 17.
“Hopefully, we will continue to pick up where we left off at before we went on break,” Wallace said.
Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org