The Richmond softball team took the saying “records are meant to be broken” to a whole new level during the 2018 season.
As a collective, the Lady Raiders set five new program records — breaking three of them in the one game — and became the first group in program history to win the undefeated conference title, and advance to the NCHSAA 4A Western Regional Finals, for the second year in a row. They also tied the state’s single-season record for most home runs.
Individually, Owen Bowers hit 11 dingers on the season and is now Richmond softball’s all-time leader in homers. Paige Ransom, rising sophomore, now holds the program record for most bombs hit by a freshman in a single season.
Ransom, infielder, recorded the first homer of her varsity career in a game versus Pinecrest on March 13, sending a three-run shot over the fence in the bottom of the third inning to give the team a 6-0 advantage. She tied the freshman record — set by teammate Greyson Way back in 2016 — exactly a month later with a two-runner at Lumberton, and then took over the top spot with another two-run homer at Anson on April 18. Ransom finished the season with 11 long balls.
Two days after Ransom set her individual record, Richmond dismantled conference foe Seventy-First 34-1 in just four innings, setting new program records for the most runs scored (34), most runs batted in (28) and the most players with multiple runs scored (9) in a single game. Bowers, whose fourth-inning RBI set the new mark, and Savannah Lampley with finished with a team-high five runs scored in the road victory.
In the third round of the NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs, the No. 1-seeded Lady Raiders hit six home runs — another achievement no other team in program history has been able to conquer — in a 17-0 victory over Lake Norman. Bowers and Ransom each smacked two homers in the win, as Way and Kayla Hawkins finished with one apiece.
In the fourth round against Hickory Ridge, Bowers hit the 32nd and final bomb of her four-year varsity career. She would bring home Payton Chappell, who led off the inning with a walk, with a two-run shot in the bottom of the second and give the Lady Raiders a five-run advantage. Bowers ended her senior campaign with 10 home runs.
Taylor Parrish’s third-inning grand slam in Game 2 of the Western Regional Finals against South Caldwell was the 55th home run hit by Richmond this past season, which tied the state record — set by Madison High School in 2014 — for the most home runs in a single season. It was also the most the team had hit in a season in program history.
WHAT WAS SAID
“No (it wasn’t a goal), it’s just something that happened,” Ransom said of her breaking Way’s record. “I wasn’t expecting it … I was just trying to do my best and get some playing time.”
“I was trying to be as aggressive as possible,” Bowers said after the wins over Lake Norman and Hickory Ridge in the state playoffs. “I thought to myself … ‘I’m going to be on (top of) every pitch because that’s what has helped me.’ I just tried to hit on the barrel every time, catch it out in front so I can hit it hard.”
Head coach Wendy Wallace and the Richmond softball team are always looking to make history but will be more focused on getting another shot at the Western Regionals, in hopes of advancing to — and winning — the State Championship series.
Way is only two home runs away from tying Bowers on Richmond’s all-time list and will more than likely move into first place next spring, which will be her senior season. Ransom’s coming back for her sophomore campaign and looks to add to her team-leading numbers from this past season. The Lady Raiders will return nine players from their 2017 roster.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.