RICHMOND — The Richmond softball team mowed through its opposition during the regular season, combining a balanced offense and strong pitching to win all 16 games.

The Bobcats were rewarded for their dominance with the top seed in the Western D playoffs and a bye into the regional semifinals. It also gave them a less-than-ideal layoff that stretched almost two weeks.

Turns out, not even that could slow down the fast-charging Bobcats.

Top-seeded Richmond plated seven runs in the first inning, tacked on three more in the third and rolled to an easy 14-2 victory over No. 4 Vinalhaven in a game shorted to six innings because of the 12-run rule Friday afternoon.

The Bobcats (16-0) advanced to the Western D final Tuesday at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College. They will play either No. 6 Buckfield (10-6) or No. 2 Searsport (12-5).

“We did what we had to do,” Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said. “We really had to focus on what we want to accomplish, which is another trip to the states.”

The Bobcats took a giant step toward a fifth straight trip to the Class D state championship game thanks to some timely hitting and an effective Meranda Martin in the circle.

Kelsea Anair went 2-for-4 with a line drive home run to straight away center field in the fifth inning. Freshman Sydney Tilton went 3-for-4 with a stolen base while cleanup hitter Kelsie Obie tripled, singled and drove in a pair.

“We got it done,” Tilton said.

Martin went the distance, striking out six and walking just one. She allowed seven hits, but effectively mixed her pitches to keep the Vikings (9-7) off balanced.

“I threw all my pitches,” she said. “I had confidence in them all. Everything was working, so that was good. It was nice to have the early lead.”

Richmond showed little sign of any proverbial rust, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first to suck any possible drama out of this one.

Vinalhaven starter Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes retired the first two hitters she faced, but then allowed the following eight to reach.

Tilton got things going with a line drive single to left and Obie followed with an RBI triple to the gap in left-center. Autumn Acord laced a two-run single in the inning as well.

“We like to jump on teams early,” Martin said. “It got us up and excited.”

Added Anair: “It’s tough between the season and playoffs because it’s almost a disadvantage to us because we don’t play in so long. We get on a roll and then have to pause, and then we have to pick it back up again. But we were able to do it. We wanted to emphasize a fast start.”

Vinalhaven pushed a run home in the second but Richmond continued its surge at the plate with three more in the third. Camryn Hurley and Tilton had RBI singles in the inning.

“We swung the bats well,” Tilton said.

Anair ripped a home run over the head of Vinalhaven center fielder Deja Doughty with one out in the fifth to push the Richmond lead to 11-2. It was Anair’s fifth home run of the season.

“It felt good when it left the bat,” she said.

Emily Douin chipped in with a pair of hits and Cassidy Hariman reached base three times for the Bobcats as well.

Bailey Wadleigh went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Vinalhaven.

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartmtm

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