LAURINBURG — Head coach Mike Way said he wanted the Lady Raider softball team to show “some fight” during Thursday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament championship.
Although No. 3 Richmond came up short in its goal of defeating No. 1 Scotland High School, Way was pleased with the Lady Raiders’ effort, especially through the first half of the game.
Playing in its second consecutive SAC tournament title game, Richmond couldn’t get past the Lady Fighting Scots, falling 10-0 in six innings.
Both teams carried a scoreless game through the first three and a half innings, as starting pitchers Quston Leviner and Sydnee Dial traded zeroes.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth inning that the Lady Scots (17-3) found the scoreboard. Scotland plated seven runs in the home half.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth and Scotland up 1-0, a 10-minute delay took place while the umpires and school administrators dealt with an incident in the stands.
After play resumed, Scotland scored six more runs before the third out was recorded.
“I’m not saying that the delay is what did us in, but the delay in the middle of the game broke the momentum we had going,” Way explained. “Then a couple of runs turned into seven and it got away from us.
“We were walking such a fine line because we know we can’t score a whole lot, and it was deflating for the girls to get down because they felt that it would be tough for us to score that many runs.”
Scotland added two runs in the fifth before ending the game with a final run with two away in the bottom of the sixth.
Richmond had three hits in the game, all singles. They came courtesy of Leviner, junior Katie Way and sophomore Jakayla Steele. Senior Macy Steen (hit-by-pitch) and freshman Hayden Robinson (error) also reached base.
In her 5.2 innings of work, Leviner gave up nine hits and seven earned runs. She struck out five batters.
The Lady Raiders (12-7) will enter the NCHSAA 4A East postseason as the SAC’s automatic 4A bid. Like baseball, the NCHSAA will finalize seeding and brackets on Monday, followed by the opening round of the playoffs on Tuesday.
In the most recent version of the NCHSAA’s MaxPreps RPI rankings, Richmond sits as the 12th ranked team in the 4A East. That will likely lead to a first-round home playoff game.
“The score doesn’t really indicate it, but Quston pitched really well tonight,” Way said. “That will help us going forward. There are some things we have to clean up and we’re young in some crucial places.
“We’re trying to get better between now and Tuesday and be ready to start the season over (in the playoffs). It’s a new season now, none of this matters and everyone is 0-0.”
The Richmond Observer will post a postseason preview and final brackets when they’re finalized.