Wednesday, 13 March 2019 23:42

Way sets Richmond home run record as Lady Raiders hit five longballs in rout over Uwharrie Charter

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Greyson Way (17) is greeted by teammates following her 32nd career home run, Richmond's new program record. Greyson Way (17) is greeted by teammates following her 32nd career home run, Richmond's new program record. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Senior pitcher Greyson Way made program history in the first inning of Wednesday’s non-conference softball game against Uwharrie Charter Academy.

The UNC-Greensboro signee set the Richmond Senior High School softball program record with her 32nd career home run, surpassing former teammate Owen Bowers. She connected on a 1-1 curveball away that sailed out and over the center field wall.

Her blast was just the first of five Lady Raider home runs in a five-inning mercy rule win, as Richmond rolled to a 13-2 victory to stay perfect on the season.

“It was really good feeling,” Way said of her record-breaking home run. “As soon it came off the bat, I knew I hit it solid. The records are nice, but I just want to do as much as I can to help my team win.

“Every time I go up to the plate, I just try to hit it hard,” she added. “I don’t go out with the mindset of hitting a home run. I remember last year that Owen and I were close, and I didn’t even realize it was the record breaker.”

Also joining the home run parade were senior Taylor Parrish, junior Kayla Hawkins, sophomore Paige Ransom and freshman Allyiah Swiney. It was Parrish’s team-leading fourth homer of the season, which ties her season total from a year ago. Way’s knock was her second in five games.

For Hawkins, Ransom and Swiney, it was their first respective home run of the spring. Ransom hit a team-high 11 dingers as a freshman last year, and Swiney’s second-inning blast was the first of her varsity career.

In Tuesday’s win over Pinecrest High School, Richmond combined for four home runs. Wednesday's performance was one bomb away from tying the program record set against Lake Norman High School in last year’s playoffs.

After starting the season with only one homer through the first two games, the Lady Raiders now have 12 longballs as a team, nine coming in the last two nights. The win over Uwharrie Charter made it the third-straight game that two or more Richmond players hit a homer.

Currently, Richmond’s 12 home runs are No. 1 in the state, in all classifications, two more than second-place East Lincoln High School.

“It comes down to the girls seeing the ball a lot better than they have, even at this time last week,” head coach Wendy Wallace said. “They’re getting in a consistent routine of playing a couple of nights in a row.

“That’s building up their confidence and are now swinging the bat better,” she added. “They’re also finding the pitches they like, and they’re taking hacks.”

It was the first time that Richmond and Uwharrie Charter have faced one another, as Wallace explained Larry Lisenby, the Lady Eagles’ head coach, used to be at West Montgomery High School. The two coaches had tried last season to make a meeting happen when Lisenby was still at West Montgomery, and the two teams finally met up this spring.

The 11-run drubbing by Richmond marked the Lady Eagles’ first loss of the season (3-1).

Following Way’s two-run blast in the bottom of the first that scored leadoff batter Savannah Lampley (walk), Uwharrie Charter tied the game at two in the top of the second on a sacrifice bunt and a double steal. But that’s all they would get.

Swiney went yard on the first pitch she saw to lead off the home half of the second, plating the eventual game-winning run.

Both teams’ bats were quiet until the bottom of the fourth inning when Richmond exploded for 10 runs. Back-to-back RBI singles by Lampley and Ransom opened the inning to make it 5-2, and Parrish unloaded on a pitch two at-bats later for a three-run blast to score Ransom and Way (walk).

Hawkins answered just one pitch later to go back-to-back with Parrish with a shot to center field. Madison Jordan and Kenleigh Frye continued the hitting spree with base knocks (Frye’s first varsity hit), and Swiney brought home Jordan with a line drive to right field.

After two strikeouts, Ransom ended the night’s scoring with a three-run blast to center, scoring Frye and Swiney. Ransom’s four RBIs were a game-high, followed by three from Parrish, and two more from Swiney and Way.

In the circle, Way pitched a complete game, gave up just two hits in the second inning and recorded win No. 5 of the season. She struck out five batters and gave up no walks.

“It was a nice chance to see someone different pitchers,” Wallace said of facing Uwharrie Charter. “None of our girls have played with them, so it was a different view from the conference opponents that we see year after year.

“They threw three different pitchers, all with different speeds, and our girls made good adjustments,” she concluded.

Richmond (5-0, 3-0 SAC) will host Pinecrest (3-2, 2-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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