BREWER — Led by a relentless offense and a fearless junior pitcher, Richmond won its fourth consecutive Class D state softball title with a 15-6 victory over Stearns at Coffin Field on Saturday.

The Bobcats (18-0), who have won 70 consecutive games, pounded out 15 hits, with Sydney Tilton and Kalah Patterson leading the way with three hits and three RBIs apiece. Meranda Martin reached base four times in the leadoff sport, scored four runs and drove in two. Caitlin Kendrick also had three hits, including a triple, and drove in two runs.

Martin picked up the win in the circle against a potent Stearns lineup that collected 12 hits. But she made the Minutemen (17-3) put the ball in play, walking one and striking out three while fielding seven chances in the circle without an error.

Cassidy McLeod went 4 for 4 with a triple and two runs scored to lead Stearns.

It is the eighth softball title in Richmond school history. Richmond also matches Madison (1994-97) as the only schools to win four straight softball titles.

“It feels great,” said Martin, whose father, Tony, took over as head coach this year after long-time head coach Rick Coughlin resigned. “We’ve had a tough season. We’ve had a couple of people pass away in our town and not having Rick be our coach this year. We were planning to win this game for Rick. That’s what we did.”

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Richmond scored three runs in the first inning off Stearns pitcher Jessica Girsa on RBI hits by Tilton, Patterson and Kendrick, and appeared poised to run away early after pushing its lead to 9-1 in the top of the third.

“They put the bat on the ball really well. I have to give them credit,” said Girsa, who stemmed the onslaught by striking out the side. “I think that I threw decent. I think I was a little bit frustrated and I put that into my pitching.”

Stearns scored four in the third and one in the fourth off Martin to get back in it.

“They can definitely hit the ball and they’re a good team. It was like playing ourselves,” junior second baseman Camryn Hurley said.

Girsa helped shift momentum in Stearns’ favor by striking out the side in the fourth. She retired the first two hitters of the fifth before Martin ripped a drive to right and legged out a triple. She scored on Cassidy Harriman’s bobbled grounder to short to make it 11-6. She then put momentum squarely back on Richmond’s side for good by tossing her lone 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.

“When they came back and it was 9-6, I told the girls ‘You know, we’ve got to start hitting the ball again,'” first-year coach Tony Martin said. “The girls got the bats going again.”

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Tilton hit the first of her two doubles to lead off the sixth and scored on Patterson’s single to make it 12-6. The next inning, the same duo clubbed back-to-back doubles, followed by Kendrick’s triple, to put the Minutemen even further in the rear-view mirror.

“We worked all season long on attacking the ball and going for that first pitch,” Tilton said. “If that first pitch is there because the pitcher is trying to get ahead, rip it.”

“We were just so prepared,” said Patterson, one of three seniors along with Kelsea Anair and Autumn Acord to end their high school softball careers with a 70-0 record. “Everyone said we had so much to lose, but really we had nothing to lose. We were just relaxed. We love playing the game.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter:@RAWmaterial33


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