STANDISH — One big inning was all it took to send defending champ Richmond High School back to the Class D softball championship.

The Bobcats plated seven runs in the bottom of the second and went on to down Greenville 7-2 in the Western D final Wednesday at Richmond W. Bailey Field on the campus of St. Joseph’s College.

Richmond will now face Limestone High School — which defeated Deer Isle/Stonington 9-2 in the Eastern D final — for the Class D championship Saturday at 11 a.m. at Coffin Field in Brewer.

“(I expect) a tough game,” Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said. “If it is Limestone I heard the pitcher is really good and I guess she’s a good hitter. We’ll just have to play the way we’re playing. We have to play good defense, that’s our key.”

The Eagles are not the only ones with a standout pitcher though, as freshmen Meranda Martin enters having allowed just one earned run on two hits and one walk against the Lakers.

More impressive than her line, however, was the presence the ninth-grader had on the field.

Martin showed little fear in her approach against the Lakers’ hitters, constantly challenging them throughout the game. She needed just 83 pitches to close out the win, 61 of which were strikes.

“You just have to stay pumped and you have to fight through it,” Martin said. “Some of my pitches that didn’t break they hit, but once I got my pitches down and mixed them up I did well.”

Defensively, she was flawless as well. Martin recorded five outs via strikeout and also had eight putouts, with no errors.

“She’s better than any freshman I’ve ever had,” said Coughlin, who is in his 28th year coaching the Bobcats. “She does it all. She can pitch, she can run, she can hit. Great speed and she’s had a pitching assistant since the fourth grade.

“She’s not your typical freshman.”

The freshman right-hander set Greenville down in the first two innings — striking out three and allowing just a single — and Kalah Patterson got Richmond going in the bottom of the second with a lead-off triple.

“It just picks everybody up,” Coughlin said of the hit. “They all now want to contribute to it and they did.”

Cassidy Harriman then attempted to get a sacrifice bunt down, but could not and popped out to the catcher for the first out of the inning.

Autum Acord followed, got the bunt down and was safe at first on a fielder’s choice, while Emily Douin hit the first of her three singles in the game to plate Patterson for Richmond’s first run.

Douin’s single opened the flood gates for the Bobcats, as singles from Alyssa Dunton and Kelsie Obi, a walk to Martin and sacrifice fly to left from Patterson helped produce the seven runs. Camryn Hurley and Kelsea Anair also reached on errors on sharply hit balls during the rally.

“Our hitting has really (improved),” Martin said. “In the beginning it was a little iffy, we weren’t really getting on the ball but we hit every day in practice. We’ve really been cranking the ball.”

From there, the Bobcats mustered just a pair of hits, but by then the damage had been done. Greenville got one run each in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively, but Martin slammed the door shut in the seventh.

She needed just seven pitches — all strikes — as she struck out Kaylee Warman swinging, got Amber Benway to pop out to the circle and Kianna Goodwin was robbed of a base hit on a fine catch in right by Dunton to end the game.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: Evan_Crawley


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