ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior softball team earned its third consecutive trip to the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs following a 5-2 win over Davie County on Tuesday.
NaLee Jacobs stepped into the circle in the top of the seventh inning and retired the opposing batters in order. She forced Davie’s Jessie Beck to hit a pop fly before striking out Sydney Hendren and Sydney Wyatt to put an end to the game.
Jacobs took over pitching duties for Makenzie Ward after she was struck in the upper body by a ball from K’lea Parks. Ward, who pitched a no-hitter in the team’s first-round game against North Mecklenburg, finished the night with five hits and six strikeouts.
“We told her (Jacobs) the whole game to stay ready. We know that it’s going to take both of our pitchers the further we go,” coach Wendy Wallace said. “NaLee does a good job of going in, keeping her composure and hitting her spots. So, that was huge for her to come in and do that.”
After Ward picked up two of her strikeouts in the top of the first inning, Richmond’s offense was able to take advantage of a few mistakes from Davie pitcher Olivia Boger. She was able to earn three strikeouts in the bottom of the first, but her team trailed by two runs heading into the second.
Boger opened the inning by walking Savannah Lampley, hitting Owen Bowers with a pitch and then throwing a wild pitch — which advanced Lampley and Bowers to third and second base, respectively.
She was able to turn things around and give the away crowd a reason to cheer, when she struck out Greyson Way and NaLee Jacobs. But the momentum didn’t last long. Lampley and Bowers would find themselves crossing home plate after two consecutive wild pitches from Boger.
Boger would end the first inning by striking out Tori Mabe.
“We had heard early, from a couple of people that I talked to, that if you could be patient and lay off her high stuff that she would struggle and throw balls,” Wallace explained. “So our game plan coming in was to be disciplined at the plate and look for balls low in the zone.”
Richmond (24-4) was able to stretch its lead in the third inning after Bowers set the tone with a lead-off single. Way would drive a ball down the third-base line for a double right before Jacobs recorded the team’s only RBI of the night.
Jacobs advanced to second base after her hit landed in centerfield and brought in Bowers and Way. The senior would score Richmond’s fifth and final run two bats later thanks to Boger committing an error on a throw to first base.
Davie (22-5) scored both of its runs on sacrifice hits.
Sierra Ferguson hit a triple in the top of the fourth inning and then made it home following Anna Devereaux’s sacrifice bunt. Ferguson then brought home Bridgett Tierney in the sixth inning with a sacrifice single.
The Lady Raiders, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, will face No. 10 seed Mooresville at home Friday. Mooresville defeated Charlotte Catholic 5-2 on Tuesday.
“We need to go in, take care of ourselves, hit the ball and play good defense behind our pitchers,” Wallace said. “And make it past the fourth round so we can get to that series.”
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Richmond Senior’s Owen Bowers finished with one hit and scored two runs in the Lady Raiders’ 5-2 victory over Davie County in the third round of the NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs.