Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:07

No. 1 Richmond ousts No. 16 Ardrey Kell in 2nd round mercy-rule win

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The Lady Raiders routed Ardrey Kell in Friday's second-round playoff game. The Lady Raiders routed Ardrey Kell in Friday's second-round playoff game. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — For the second straight season, the No. 1 overall Lady Raider softball team handed its second-round opponent a mercy-rule loss.

Kicking off their 2019 NCHSAA 4A state playoff run at home Friday, the Lady Raiders welcomed in No.16 Ardrey Kell High School. Richmond didn’t waste any time in eliminating the Lady Knights, rolling past the visiting team 15-3 in five innings.

Receiving a first-round bye in each of the past two seasons, the Lady Raiders defeated Independence High School 12-2 in six innings in the second round of 2018. The 13-run victory was Richmond’s largest playoff win since beating Lake Norman High School 17-0 in the third round last season.

Going off for the Lady Raiders were a handful of players, including senior Savannah Lampley, sophomore Payton Chappell and freshman Kenleigh Frye, all of whom went 3-for-3 at the plate. Richmond tallied 16 total hits, including five doubles and a home run. Lampley was a triple shy of the cycle.

The victory marked Richmond’s 25th of the season, surpassing its total from last season, which saw the Lady Raiders make it to the Western Regional Finals.

“The girls came ready to play tonight after being off for a week,” head coach Wendy Wallace commented after the win. “All the girls came out swinging the bat. We had a lot of great defensive efforts, and it was a total team effort.”

Junior left fielder Madison Jordan collected a game-high four RBIs along with her two hits, while Lampley and fellow senior Taylor Parrish added three RBIs each.

Ardrey Kell (16-7), which beat conference foe South Mecklenburg High School in the first round Tuesday, sent Lexi Markle to the circle. She pitched four innings, gave up 14 earned runs and struck out seven batters.

Opposite of her was Richmond’s ace Greyson Way. The senior right hander threw just 65 pitches in the win, her 24th of the season, and settled in after allowing two runs in the top of the first. Way added four strikeouts to her performance.

The Lady Knights would use a one-out double by clean up hitter Sam Mitchell to score Lynn Porter and Phoebe Florian in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.

But Richmond responded in the home half, scoring four runs of its own. Way and Parrish hit back-to-back RBI singles to score Lampley (hit-by-pitch) and Frye (single) to tie the game.

An error followed by a Jordan sacrifice fly in the next two at-bats allowed courtesy runner Maylyn Wallace and Parrish to score and double the lead.

After Way sat Ardrey Kell down in order in the top of the second, Richmond used a Chappell single, a Lampley double and a Frye walk to load the bases in the home half. Two quick outs brought junior catcher Kayla Hawkins up, who drew a bases-loaded walk to plate a run.

Jordan dug in during the next at-bat and banged a double to left field, scoring Frye and Parrish (fielder’s choice) to open the lead up to 7-2.

Ardrey Kell added its last run in the top of the third, but the Richmond bats exploded for six runs in the home half. Chappell started things with an RBI double to score freshman Allyiah Swiney (walk), and scored a couple pitches later on a Lampley single.

Up 9-3, Parrish brought in two more runs on an RBI single to right field, and Jordan brought her in on a single. Hawkins capped the inning by scoring on an error at third base.

To end the game in the fourth, Lampley added some fireworks and sent a missile to dead center for a two-run bomb, her fourth of the spring. That scored Chappell, who had a leadoff single.

The homer marked Richmond’s 52nd of the season, and closed the gap to four bombs away from breaking the all-time NCHSAA state record.

“Savannah had a big night with three hard-hit balls,” Wallace said. “As a leader, she stepped up knowing we had to come out and make a statement. Payton continues to be a big contributor. She’s swinging the bat with a lot of confidence since the spring break tournament.”

“Kenleigh has hit the ball hard all year and now they’re starting to fall for hits,” she added of Frye, who was promoted to the No. 2 hole in the lineup. “Greyson settled down and threw strikes. The girls made some nice defensive plays behind her.”

The Lady Raiders (25-2) advanced to the third round for the sixth-straight year and will host No. 9 Providence High School on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers (17-5) defeated No. 8 East Forsyth in the second round.

Richmond and Providence met in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, with Richmond winning 6-3. The Lady Panthers have the same pitcher from that season, Carolyn Bentley, and Wallace noted her team is “on a mission” to keep the playoff run going.

First pitch is set for 7 p.m. in Rockingham.

Kyle Pillar

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

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