RICHMOND — Richmond seniors Autumn Acord, Kelsea Anair and Kalah Patterson can’t recall who the last opponent was to beat them in softball.

“It was in our eighth-grade year,” Patterson said. “I know it was a championship game but I don’t remember who it was.”

Since putting on a Richmond High School jersey, they are 69-0. Standing between the seniors and a perfect career is Stearns of Millinocket, Richmond’s Class D state title game foe for the second year in a row.

The Bobcats’ losing streak when Anair and Patterson cracked the starting lineup as freshmen in 2013 stood at one — the 2012 state title game loss to Penobscot Valley. Newbies on a roster with nine seniors, they saw what a team that was fierce and focused could do. That was the year the Bobcats started the 69-game winning streak they take into Saturday’s game (noon, Brewer High School), and the year they won the first of three straight Class D state titles, gaining revenge on Penobscot Valley in the final.

Richmond established its winning long before this four-year cycle. The seniors have taken it to a different level.

Rick Coughlin had led the Bobcats to four state titles by the time they were freshmen, the last coming in 2010, when current assistant coach Leandra Martin was a sophomore.

The current seniors had the tradition Martin helped foster handed down to them by players like Danica Hurley, Ciarra Lancaster, Noell Acord, Payton Johnson and Jamie Plummer. A number of the current players, such as Acord and junior pitcher Meranda Martin, almost annually watched older sisters and cousins lifting championship hardware in the middle of every June.

“It had some impact on us just watching them and seeing them having fun winning. It made us want to do that, too,” Autumn Acord said.

Anair and Patterson broke in as a double play combination. Anair later moved to third base. Patterson stayed at shortstop and Acord joined the gang in center field as sophomores.

Coughlin, 71, resigned in March after 29 years, citing health reasons. Tony Martin, an assistant coach since 2010, took over, and didn’t make many changes after losing just one senior starter.

With so little change to personnel and philosophy, Martin kept things simple for his captains (which also include daughter Meranda) — make sure the underclassmen are learning what they learned from their predecessors.

“They’re willing to help out the younger kids. They’re true leaders,” Martin said. “There’s not a lot of squabbling between the bunch. They always bring the kids back around.”

The seniors and other veterans keep the game simple for themselves and each other, Acord said.

“It’s just fun for us. We don’t even think twice about what we’re doing,” she said. “We just go out there and have a good time, and the winning has come along with that,”

Acord, Anair and Patterson had a lot to do with making the winning happen.

Anair, the No. 3 hitter who will attend Maine Maritime in the fall, drove in six runs in Wednesday’s 13-2 D South final win over Buckfield and has been one of the Bobcats’ best hitters all season.

Patterson, who hits fifth and will attend Colby-Sawyer, overcame arm problems that forced her to move from shortstop to right field last year and has provided protection behind slugging cleanup hitter Sydney Tilton while forming a solid double-play combination with junior Camryn Hurley.

Acord, also headed to Maine Maritime, covers a lot of ground in center field and swings a dangerous bat in the No. 7 spot in the order.

Winning has been so pervasive for them (they also won the second of back-to-back state soccer titles and third overall last fall), the trio almost shrugs off the winning streak now, reiterating an oft-used cliche in Richmond circles of taking every play and every game one at a time and not looking back.

“We’re never really thinking about that,” Anair said. “Or do we have time to think about that? No.”

“I’m sure it will (hit us) after we leave high school,” she added.

The Bobcats said they don’t care how it happens, as long as their season and careers end on the same winning note.

“Hopefully we can say we never lost a softball game,” Acord said. “It would be an amazing thing that not many people can say.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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