ROCKINGHAM — A season sweep of Pinecrest High School on Tuesday was only topped by the Lady Raiders securing their spot in the postseason later this spring.
Using a 9-5 victory, Richmond punched its ticket to the 4A East playoffs by clinching the top spot of the three 4A schools in the Sandhills Athletic Conference.
Winning their seventh of eight SAC games to start the season, the Lady Raiders earned their 17th straight victory over the Lady Patriots dating back to April 8, 2016.
Senior Quston Leviner contributed on both sides, pitching a complete game and adding three hits and three runs scored.
In the circle, Leviner gave up five runs (one earned) on seven hits, while striking out 10 batters.
Richmond notched 12 hits off starting pitcher Addisyn Stayskal (6.0 IP, 9 runs, 3 Ks), as Katie Way kept her bat hot with a trio of hits. The junior shortstop recorded a game-high 3 RBI.
Pinecrest (3-9, 1-6 SAC) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. With the bases loaded, a run scored on a 4-6-3 double play and another came in on a single by Macey Jackson.
Answering with a run in the bottom half, a leadoff walk to Leviner saw her move to third on two passed balls. Way hit a hard ground ball single to left, plating Leviner for the first of her trio of RBI.
Trading scoreless frames, Richmond took the lead for good in the home half of the third. With Christi Jacobs (walk) and Leviner (single) in scoring position, Way smacked a two-RBI line drive single to center for two more runs.
An infield single by senior Makayla Parks extended the inning, leading to senior Macy Steen making it 5-1 with a two-RBI double to right field.
Following a 1-2-3 top of the fourth from Leviner, junior Addy Hollingsworth recorded an RBI on a ground out back to the circle. Scoring from third was freshman Hayden Robinson, who led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch.
Pinecrest got a run back in the fifth, but the Lady Raiders opened it up on the scoreboard with their final three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Sending eight batters to the plate, Leviner collected her final hit of the game, an RBI single to center. Crossing home plate again was Robinson, who led off with a double.
With the bases loaded two at-bats later, Parks reached on an infield single to short, scoring Jacobs (single). A wild pitch with junior Ryelan Lyerly in the box allowed Leviner to score from third.
The Lady Patriots scored two runs in the top of the seventh, but a fly out to Jacobs in right field ended the late-game threat.
Four of Richmond’s hits went for two bases, courtesy of Leviner, Steen, Lyerly and Robinson.
The Lady Raiders (10-2, 7-1 SAC) are set to hit the road Thursday for one more conference game at Hoke County High School (5-9, 1-7 SAC) before spring break. The game will begin at 7 p.m.
Note: The Richmond junior varsity softball team didn’t play on Tuesday, but will play at Hoke County on Thursday at 4: 30 p.m.