ROCKINGHAM — Despite making it a new ball game in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Richmond softball team suffered its first loss of the season on Monday.
What turned out to be a battle in both the circle and the batter’s box, the Lady Raiders lost 8-5 to non-conference Marlboro County High School.
With the game knotted 5-5 after five complete, the Lady Bulldogs (5-1) used a three-run top of the sixth to go ahead for good.
Richmond starting pitcher Quston Leviner and Mackenzie Kubas both pitched complete games and put up similar numbers.
Leviner gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits and had 10 strikeouts, while Kubas surrendered five earned runs on five hits with nine Ks and six walks.
An uncharacteristic first inning from Leviner yielded four runs for the Lady Bulldogs, who scored all four runs with two outs. Marlboro County used an RBI single and a three-run homer to take the early lead.
Leviner stranded two runners on base with her first strikeout of the game to end the threat.
Richmond answered with two runs in the home half, starting with the second pitch to Leviner in the leadoff spot. Barreling up Kubas’ second offering, Leviner hit a laser over the left field fence for a solo shot, her second of the season.
With two away, sophomore JaKayla Steele smoked an RBI single back up the middle to score junior Katie Way, who reached via a free pass. With two runners in scoring position, Richmond couldn’t capitalize on the scoring chance.
Kubas made it 5-2 in the top of the second with an RBI double, which capped the scoring for the next three innings.
The Lady Raiders stranded two runners in the home half of the second before being retired in order in the third and fourth frames. Leviner faced just four batters in the third and fifth innings and worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth.
Richmond got its bats going in the bottom of the fifth, starting with a Leviner single and another walk by Way. Senior Makayla Parks drove in Leviner on an RBI single to left, moving Way to third and advancing to second on the relay.
Senior Macy Steen moved both runners up in the next at-bat with an RBI groundout to second. Junior Ryelan Lyerly followed suit just two pitches later, drilling an RBI groundout to short to score Parks and tie the game 5-5.
Three straight doubles to start the top of the sixth accounted for two runs for Marlboro County, and a one-out sacrifice fly scored the final run.
Richmond stranded a runner on base in each of the final two innings.
Leviner and Parks each had two hits in the loss, with Leviner, Lyerly and Steele collecting an RBI. Steen led the way with two RBIs.
Now 6-1 on the season, the Lady Raiders will travel to Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Lee County High School (2-3, 2-1 SAC) on Tuesday, with action set for 6 p.m.
JV Lady Raiders win fourth straight game
The Richmond junior varsity softball team defeated Marlboro County 12-9 in four innings (time limit) on Monday.
Richmond scored four runs in each of the first three innings, while the JV Lady Bulldogs scored two runs in the second, four in the third and three more in the fourth.
Maddie Pearson earned the win in the circle, tossing all four innings. She allowed nine runs (four earned) on four hits and had 11 strikeouts.
Kinsie Lyerly went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs, including a double. Pearson and Hayden Robinson both had two hits and two RBIs, Addison Raines had a triple and an RBI and Kamryn Simmons drove in two runs.
Trinity Lockhart and Mikayla English both had a hit to round out the 10-hit performance by the team.
The JV Lady Raiders (4-0-1, 3-0 SAC) will play on Thursday at home against Union Pines High School.