RICHMOND — Cassidy Harriman’s mad dash to home plate kept Richmond’s winning streak alive on Friday.

Harriman slid home with the winning run on Caitlin Kendrick’s ground ball to first with one out in the bottom of the seventh as the Bobcats won their 56th consecutive game — a 4-3 decision over Sacopee Valley of Class C.

Harriman’s slide just beat the throw from Sacopee’s Madi Day, who was playing in to make a play at the plate but hesitated with her throw just long enough for the Richmond junior, who was off on contact, to score and set off a Bobcats celebration at the plate.

“I was just going to run through hell,” Harriman said. “I was just looking at the base and just running. That’s all I could focus on.”

The win improved the three-time defending Class D champions to 4-0 on the season. They’d won their first three games by a combined score of 58-9. Just one of those games went the full seven innings, so a tight, tense game was just what the Bobcats needed, first-year coach Tony Martin said.

“Something like this, it’s good for us to bring everybody together and get focused and stay focused for the full seven innings,” he said. “It’s nice to play that seven-inning game to get everybody used to it, because as the season goes on, we’re going to need it.”

Richmond trailed early and needed to rally from down 3-1.

The Hawks (2-4) touched pitcher Meranda Martin with a two-out rally in the second thanks to consecutive singles by Issie Eldridge, Grace Sanborn and Mekenzie Fox.

The Bobcats got an unearned run off Sacopee’s McKenzie Cormier in the third as Martin reached third on a dropped fly ball and scored on Harriman’s ground out.

Cormier (five hits, one earned run, three strikeouts, three walks) kept the Bobcats off-balance with a steady diet of change-ups.

“When they have a bunch of hitters like that, we have to (throw the timing off),” Sacopee coach Kelly Libby said. “You can’t throw these girls fastballs. They have a great hitting team. They haven’t won all of those games in a row for nothing.”

“It took us a little bit (to get the timing down). We work on change-ups a lot during practice. But that was our first actual game with change-ups,” Harriman said.

While Richmond’s hitters were trying to solve Cormier, Sacopee doubled its lead in the fifth with another two-out rally. This one started with an error by Harriman at short that allowed Nette Humphrey to reach. Humphrey stole second. Day followed by beating out another grounder to short and Humphrey, hustling all the way around second, scored easily.

“We made a few errors, but someone else would be there to pick them up. Cassidy made a few, somebody would come to pick her up. If we made a bad swing, somebody else was there to help. It’s a great little ballclub we have,” Tony Martin said.

The Hawks returned the favor with two errors in the fifth and Richmond scored a pair to tie it. Cormier pitched around Richmond cleanup hitter Sydney Tilton with the bases loaded for an unintentional intentional walk that made it 3-2. After a strikeout for the second out, Kendrick hit a hard ground ball that third baseman Brenna Humphrey knocked down, but her throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Martin to score the tying run.

After stranding the go-ahead run at third in the sixth, Martin (five hits, six strikeouts) worked a perfect seventh.

Harriman put the pressure on immediately in Richmond’s final frame with an infield single. Kelsea Anair followed with a single. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Cormier intentionally walked Tilton again to load the bases with no one out.

Anair had two of the Bobcats’ five hits. Day had two hits for Sacopee.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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