There are still two games separating the Richmond baseball team from a Class D state championship. But whichever team ends up taking the Bobcats down, if any, is going to have to follow a pretty imposing checklist.

For one, throw strikes. The Bobcats are not going to swing at balls. Two, catch every pitch cleanly, because they’re going to run early and run often. And finally, catch everything in the field, because they’re going to put the ball in play.

No. 2 Richmond did plenty of all three Friday afternoon, earning a trip to the Class D South final with an 11-1, five-inning victory over sixth-seeded Greenville. The Bobcats will play the winner of the Searsport/Buckfield matchup Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

“Right now, everybody is contributing,” coach Ryan Gardner said. “Right now, we’re playing with a lot of confidence. Even if one guy’s struggling, the other guys are picking him up. Or that guy’s getting on by getting hit by a pitch or taking a walk, or getting on by an error. We’re OK with that. We’re all about coloring in the box. If you score a run, we’re great. It doesn’t matter how you get there.”

Richmond was challenged once, when Greenville scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead in the first. The threat didn’t last through the inning. Matt Rines singled and stole second, then came home when Brendan Emmons followed with a single to right field. Zach Small drew a walk, and after a strikeout, Danny Stewart lined a pitch down the left-field line for a double, scoring Emmons and Small and making it 3-1. Stewart scored on Brady Johnson’s fly ball to second baseman Noah Pratt in shallow center field.

“Sometimes we just find ourselves getting hits in bunches and stringing together hits,” Stewart (three RBIs) said of the quick response. “Our whole order has been (clicking). … Everybody was really working in the game, everybody was seeing good pitches. We hit the ball pretty hard as a team.”


Richmond went down quietly in the second, but struck each inning afterward. Nate Kendrick squeezed home Emmons and then scored on Stewart’s grounder to shortstop in the third to make it 6-1, and Ben Gardner singled and Matt Rines tripled in runs in the fourth to bump the advantage to 8-1. Richmond forced the mercy rule with three runs in the fifth, drawing three straight walks to open the frame and getting RBI singles by Tristan Shea and Gardner before a bases-loaded walk to Dakota Gilpatrick ended the game.

Richmond swung the bats well, picking up eight hits in the five innings, but they were just as willing to be patient. The Bobcats drew six walks, with each player in the lineup all too happy to wait for the perfect pitch to drive.

“We’ve worked really hard, we’ve taken extra at-bats … (and) really worked on hitting quality pitches,” Gardner said. “Be selective. Pick out the pitches you want to hit, and other than that, let them go, because it works the pitcher’s arm.”

When the Bobcats got on base, they went to work looking for more. Richmond stole nine bases, continuing its season-long trend of unsettling defenses and forcing even more mistakes.

“One of our biggest things is our speed, and the bases we take,” Gardner said. “You see the pitchers, they get frustrated with people moving around all the time. And we’re always looking to take that extra base, make the catcher work harder. He’s got to block everything, because somebody’s (running). That’s our game, and we’ve perfected it, for right now.”

Greenville tallied the first run of the game when Doug Kane reached on a two-out error, moved to second on a walk and scored when he tried to steal third on a pitch that Small skipped past a crossed-up Shea. The ball went out of play, allowing Kane to walk home, but Small rebounded to allow only two more hits the rest of the way.


“I was just trying to attack the zone early with my fastballs, commanding it, and I had that today,” Small said.

“We knew they’re a good team, they beat (North Yarmouth Academy), and NYA beat us,” Gardner said. “I think there were some jitters. … But the first thing they said when they came in was, ‘Forget it. We’re starting anew. That’s over. We’re putting it behind us.’ And they did.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.