RICHMOND — It was over as soon as it started. Almost literally.

Undefeated and four-time defending state champion Richmond High School scored 15 runs in the first inning of its Class D South softball semifinal on Friday, batting around twice and piling up 14 hits, bruising its way to a 19-0 win over Vinalhaven/North Haven in five innings. It was the 87th consecutive victory for the Bobcats (17-0), who secured their eighth consecutive berth in the regional final.

Richmond will play the winner of Saturday’s other D South semifinal between Buckfield and Greenville in the finals on Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

No team in any class, in any sport, has as long an active current winning streak.

“Every game, you have to show up to play. That’s what I try telling the girls,” Richmond coach Tony Martin said. “You need to be ready to play. You take each inning as they come. You take each game as they come. You don’t look (ahead) at the next one.”

Friday’s game started nearly 20 minutes early with both teams and the umpiring crew ready, present and accounted for. By the time the clock struck noon — the game’s scheduled start — any hope of a Cinderella upset from Vinalhaven was long gone as Viking Ashlyn Littlefield strode to the plate to lead off the second inning.

By then, two different Viking pitchers had faced a total of 20 Bobcat batters, including Richmond leadoff hitter Meranda Martin three times.

Martin, who finished the day at 4 for 5 with three runs scored, drove in three runs in the bottom of the first alone.

“The mentality we have is that we like to hit the ball and we like to score runs,” she said. “Everyone has the mentality that they want to go up there and they want to hit the ball. They don’t want to get walked. We’re a competitive team, and we like to put numbers on the board. That’s what keeps us focused.”

Every member of Richmond’s starting lineup had at least one hit, one RBI and one run scored against the Vikings. Seven of the nine enjoyed multi-hit games, including senior first baseman Cassidy Harriman who went 4 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.

Considering that no current Richmond player has ever lost a varsity softball game, the Bobcats continue to approach each contest — and each inning and each at-bat, offensively or defensively — with an intensity that lends itself to seasons-old winning streaks. To wit: Leading by 19 runs, Martin made three separate diving catches on pop ups behind and just in front of home plate.

“That’s Meranda, she’s 120 percent all the time,” Tony Martin said. “No matter where she is, no matter what the score is, no matter what inning of the game it is, she’s 120 percent.”

“I’m a very competitive person,” Meranda Martin said. “For me, that’s what it is. I’m always competitive. I want to get the out. I don’t want anyone else to get it, I want to get it myself. That’s what drives me.”

Junior pitcher Sydney Tilton, who came one fourth-inning single away from tossing a perfect game, said that effort like Martin’s does not go unnoticed.

“That kind of stuff, even as small as it might seem, is what picks up energy,” said Tilton, who went 3 for 3 with a solo home run in the second inning. “It’s nice to have everbody out here going all the time like that. Even if one person is down, there are two others right there to pick them up.”

The Bobcats have now outscored their opponents 157-8 over the last 10 games, making it look far too easy at times, but they are able to look at the big picture to stay focused. Close games certainly await in the regional and state finals.

“You should always take it one game at a time, but working on going to St. Joe’s is what we’ve really got to focus on,” Tilton said. “These games are an opportunity to do that.”

They are also a chance to keep adding to an impressive winning streak that dates back five full years to the 2012 state championship game, a 4-2 loss to Penobscot Valley. Still, it’s hard to get the current crop of Bobcats to worry too much about legacy or unbeaten streaks.

“All of these girls, they aren’t worried about that stuff,” Tony Martin said. “We try to teach them most of all, ‘Let’s have fun while we work.’ If we’re not having fun out there, then there’s no sense being here.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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