ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond softball team kicked off what it hopes will be a lengthy postseason run with a convincing 15-3 win over Ardrey Kell in the second round of the 4A NCSHAA State Playoffs on Friday night.
Savannah Lampley went 3-for-3 with a home run to lead the No. 1-seeded Lady Raiders (25-2) to their 14th straight win, this one only lasting four and a half innings. Payton Chappell, Kenleigh Frye, Madison Jordan and Taylor Parrish each finished with two hits while Paige Ransom and Greyson Way added one a piece to bring the team total to 13 hits.
“This was probably the first time since the beginning of the season that we’ve sat a whole week before playing, so the girls came out hungry and ready to hit the ball,” head coach Wendy Wallace said of her team having to sit idle since winning the Sandhills Athletic Tournament championship on May 3. “They wanted to come out and make a statement.”
Because they were the visiting team, the No. 16 Knights (16-7) were hoping to make a statement of their own at the top of the first inning. And judging by the first four at-bats, they seemed to be on pace to do just that.
After Lynn Porter drew a lead-off walk, Phoebe Florian landed a single that would put two runners on base within the first five minutes of the game. A pop fly from Lexi Markle was the visitors’ first out of the inning, but Sam Mitchell cracked a two-run double into right field that scored Porter and Florian and quickly put them ahead 2-0.
Two bats later, however, Richmond caught Mitchell trying to come home from second base — following an Abby Newton single — for the third and final out, which marked the beginning of the end for the 16th-seeded Knights.
It didn’t take long for the home team to answer in the bottom of the first thanks to back-to-back RBI singles, courtesy of Way and Parrish, and an errant throw to third that led to Maylyn Wallace (base running for Way) crossing home plate.
Jordan hit a sacrifice fly shortly after to help Richmond take a 4-2 lead at the end of one.
“They jumped out and hit the ball solid in the first inning,” Wallace said of Ardrey Kell, “but I thought it was good that we were able to settle down, step up and score runs early to erase that two-run lead they took.”
The Lady Raiders plated three runs in the second, added six more in the third and tacked on its last two in the fourth. It was only the fourth time this season they’ve scored a run in every inning — the other three times being against Seventy-First.
Lampley ripped a one-run single in the third and then lifted a two-run shot in the fourth to end the night with three RBI. Jordan finished with a team-best four RBI by bringing in two runs with a double in the second and a triple in the third.
Parrish also batted in runs, putting Richmond ahead 11-3 in the third with a 2-RBI single.
“Usually, we either don’t score the first couple of innings and then explode or we start scoring early and then don’t score for the rest of the game, so it was good to see us consistently hit the ball,” Wallace said.
With the win, the Lady Raiders advance to the third round where they will play host to No. 9 Providence (17-5) on Tuesday. The Panthers, who visited Richmond in the 2017 state playoffs, beat No. 8 East Forsyth in the second round
“They still have the same pitcher we faced (back then), so we’ll go back and look to see what they did and get prepared,” Wallace said. “We’re excited. … We’re on a mission to try and accomplish what we haven’t been able to do so far.”
Richmond’s Savannah Lampley (12) holds up her glove after tagging out Ardrey Kell’s Lexi Markle (8) at third base on Friday.
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.