Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:01

Lady Raiders win fifth straight game with timely hitting in 6-1 victory over Jack Britt

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Payton Chappell (7) trots toward her teammates at home plate after crushing her first career home run during the second inning of Tuesday's 6-1 win over Jack Britt. Payton Chappell (7) trots toward her teammates at home plate after crushing her first career home run during the second inning of Tuesday's 6-1 win over Jack Britt. Photo courtesy of Michelle Morrison Parrish.

FAYETTEVILLE – The Lady Raiders’ magic number over the past four games has been 14. Entering Tuesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference game at Jack Britt High School, they’ve averaged 14 runs per game, and it had been exactly 14 innings of action since junior ace Greyson Way allowed a hit, having tossed back-to-back shutout no-hitters against Pinecrest High School.

And while Richmond didn’t tally that many runs Tuesday, it did defeat the Lady Buccaneers in convincing fashion, 6-1. It was the first time since the season opener that Richmond played a complete seven innings, having mercy-ruled all of its opponents.

Facing its toughest level of competition so far since beginning SAC play, Richmond (5-1, 5-0 SAC) won its fifth straight game thanks to a collective team effort at the dish and another strong performance by Way in the circle. Jack Britt (7-2, 3-2) entered the night in second place in conference standings, but found itself slip into third after facing Way and company.

“Greyson pitched well considering the wind, and we battled the cold tonight,” head coach Wendy Wallace said. “There was a tight strike zone and Greyson wasn’t happy with herself for giving up five walks. But she only gave up three hits and did well with shutting down the top part of their lineup.”

The Lady Buccaneers’ one through six hitters, who have combined for 71 hits and a .430 average through the team’s first nine games, didn’t have such luck against Way. The only two of those players to get a hit off of her were Rayven Shepard and Jessica McRae, with McRae scoring the lone Jack Britt run thanks to a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second inning.

“Greyson wanted to miss off the plate with the home run hitters they have in their lineup,” Wallace noted. “She did what she was supposed to do.”

On the season, Jack Britt has hit 12 home runs, which is best in the SAC, three better than second-place Lumberton High School (9).

Wallace noted her offense “didn’t have a single explosive inning” at the plate, instead it was able to “string hits together” when it needed to. The Lady Raiders scored at least one run in five of the seven total innings played, and eight players combined for 11 hits against freshman pitcher Carlie Myrtle.

Savannah Lampley started the game off with getting hit by a pitch, her second consecutive game in doing so. After stealing second base and advancing to third on a dropped third strike to Owen Bowers, Lampley scored when cleanup hitter Brianna Baysek hit a line drive RBI single to right field.

Payton Chappell, who has impressed this season as a freshman at the hot corner, smacked her first career home run, a solo shot to right center field, with one out in the top of second. Wallace noted Chappell watched two straight fastballs for strikes and finally “pulled the trigger on an 0-2 pitch.” Heading to the bottom of the second, Richmond held a 2-0 lead.

Way encountered some trouble in the bottom half of the second, allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases with just one out. Way got Abigail Johnson to strike out swinging for out number two, one of her seven strikeouts on the night. But she lost MacKenzie George after getting her in an 0-2 count, and threw four straight balls to walk in McRae from third.

But from that point on, it was all Richmond. Back-to-back singles by Bowers and Way to start the top of the third inning led to RBI singles by Kayla Hawkins and Paige Ransom to extend the Lady Raiders’ lead to 4-1.

In the middle innings, Way gave up one hit and two walks, but sat down the Lady Buccaneers in order in the sixth and seventh innings to secure her fifth win of the year. In those last five starts, Way has pitched 27 innings, and allowed just 10 hits and three earned runs, while striking out 41 batters.

A Ransom fly ball in the top of the fifth brought in Madison Jordan from second when Jack Britt right fielder Alyssa Norton committed an error. Way would finish the night’s scoring with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, scoring Lampley from second.

Lampley, Hawkins and Way each had two hits, and Lampley snagged three stolen bases to put her second in the SAC with 11 on the year. Five different players had an RBI (Baysek, Chappell, Hawkins, Ransom and Way).

“This win gave us better confidence at the plate,” Wallace said. “Their pitcher (Myrtle) had good speed, and changed speeds a lot. And that’s what we need to be prepared for later in the season.

“Tonight was a good judgement of where we are with pitching and hitting,” she continued. “We knew we were playing well, but we hit well and contained good batters tonight against a good team.”

Richmond is back in action Wednesday, as it’ll host non-conference opponent Whiteville High School (5-0). First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:22

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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