ROCKINGHAM — One of Richmond’s biggest nemeses last season was Hoke County High School, a team the Lady Raider softball team faced four times in 2022.
That wasn’t the case during Tuesday’s first of two Sandhills Athletic Conference regular-season meetings between Richmond and the Lady Bucks, as the Lady Raiders remained undefeated to start the season.
Using a seven-run first inning, the Lady Raiders earned their fifth consecutive win to start the season behind a 12-2 mercy-rule victory in five innings.
Notching the team’s best start under head coach Mike Way since he took over in 2020, the Lady Raiders belted 17 hits and had three players record three runs batted in apiece.
Senior pitcher Quston Leviner did her usual bidding in the circle, pitching another complete game. She allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out four batters.
Leviner also recorded a team-high four hits, smacking three singles and a double, while also driving in a run.
Juniors Kady Harris and Ryelan Lyerly both went 3-for-3 at the dish and drove in three runs apiece. Harris had three base knocks and Lyerly added a single, a double and a homer.
Senior Makayla Parks kept her bat hot, connecting for two hits, including a homer, for a trio of RBIs. Her final two runs driven in on a single to left field secured the mercy-rule win.
Hoke County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first following an error. But Richmond’s bats were all business in the home half, sending 12 batters to the plate to set the tone.
A leadoff single by Leviner and a fielder’s choice by Parks put runners on the corners with one away against starting pitcher Natalie Williams (1.0 IP, 8 hits, 8 earned runs). Senior Macy Steen got the scoring started with an RBI single to center, the first of her two hits, to score Leviner.
Parks moved to third and Steen snuck into second on the throw for Lyerly in the next at-bat. On a 1-0 pitch, Lyerly sliced a 2-RBI double to the gap in left field, plating Parks and Steen.
Leading 3-1, sophomore JaKayla Steele hit a double to put herself and Lyerly in scoring position. Junior Christi Jacobs reached safely on a fielder’s choice bunt to third, seeing everyone advance and Lyerly score.
Still with one away, Harris dug in and roped a 2-RBI single back up the middle, giving Steele and Jacobs time to score.
Two batters later, Leviner collected her second hit of the inning, this time an RBI double to center, scoring Harris.
Leviner faced only four batters in the top of the second, letting the Lady Raiders’ bats get back to work. Richmond added a pair of runs to take a 9-1 lead.
With relief pitcher Adriana Miller in the circle (3.2 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs), Parks blasted her team-leading third bomb of the season to lead off the inning, clearing the fence in center field.
Steen singled in the next at-bat but was later tagged out, and Lyerly (single) and Steele (walk) reached safely. With two away, Harris connected again on a hot shot through the wickets for an RBI single, scoring Lyerly.
With two on and two outs in the third, Leviner worked out of the jam unscathed with a strikeout to Kalea Parker.
Facing a similar situation in the next inning, Leviner got some defensive help for an inning-ending double play.
Chica Amador hit a grounder to junior Katie Way at short who threw to Parks at first for the first out. A head’s up play by Parks saw her fire home to Steen, who tagged out Kamryn King by several feet, who was trying to score on the play.
Lyerly made it 10-1 when she lasered a solo shot over the fence in center, her second longball of the spring. Hoke County answered with a run in the top of the fifth on a passed ball.
With two away and junior Addyson Hollingsworth (running for Erin Fields, single) on second and Harris (single) on third, Parks sent everyone home early with a line drive 2-RBI single to left.
Richmond (5-0, 3-0 SAC) will travel to non-conference Montgomery Central (3-3) on Thursday at 6 p.m., followed by a home SAC game against Union Pines on Friday at 7 p.m.
JV Lady Raiders earn second win
Also playing at home on Tuesday, the Richmond junior varsity softball team earned its second win of the season, 10-6 over Hoke County.
Playing five innings due to the time limit, sophomore Maddie Pearson pitched a complete game. She allowed six runs on four hits and struck out eight batters.
Tied 6-6 after three innings, Richmond used a four-run bottom of the fourth to secure the victory.
Trailing 1-0 in the first, Trinity Lockhart (single), Mikayla English (walk) and Pearson (single) all scored on passed balls to take a 3-1 lead.
Hoke County regained a 5-3 lead in the next half inning, but English got a run back in the home half on an RBI groundout to first, scoring Jamesyn Quick (single).
Down 6-4 in the bottom of the third, Kamryn Simmons scored on a passed ball, which was followed by a double from Kinsie Lyerly. With two outs, Lockhart recorded an RBI single to plate Lyerly and tie the game.
Pearson led off the fourth with a single and scored on a passed ball to take a 7-6 lead. An RBI groundout by Simmons scored Hayden Robinson (single) and Addison Raines (walk) also scored on a passed ball.
Lyerly tripled and scored two at-bats later when Quick belted an RBI single to center. Pearson faced just four batters in the top of the fifth to ice the game.
The JV Lady Raiders (2-0-1, 1-0 SAC) will also play at Montgomery Central on Thursday.