STANDISH — It certainly hasn’t happened often over the course of the last five seasons, but when pushed, the Richmond softball team is capable of pushing back.


The top-seeded Bobcats chased off any hope of a Greenville comeback Tuesday afternoon at Bailey Field on the campus of St. Joseph’s College, scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth en route to a 14-6 win in the Class D South regional championship. With its 88th consecutive victory, Richmond put itself into Saturday’s state title game with a chance to claim a fifth straight Class D championship against Penobscot Valley, a 3-0 winner over Southern Aroostook.

“We did what we needed to do,” Richmond head coach Tony Martin said. “We capitalized and came through hitting. It’s like I told the girls, you have to score runs to win the game.”

Junior Sydney Tilton went 3 for 4 with a home run and five RBIs for the Bobcats (18-0), while freshman second baseman Bryanne Lancaster went 2 for 4 with a triple and five RBIs of her own.

While Richmond didn’t pitch exceptionally well or play particularly sharp defense, the Bobcats did the one thing they know how to do better than most: They hit. Eight of the nine Richmond starters reached base and scored at least one time.

Nowhere was Richmond’s offense more significant than in the fourth inning. Shoddy defense allowed Greenville (14-4) to string together five hits and score three runs in the top of the frame to cut Richmond’s lead to 6-5 after the Bobcats had raced out to a 6-1 lead through an inning and a half.

But Richmond answered, bringing 10 batters to the plate — the first four of whom reached base and scored — with the biggest blow of the inning being Lancaster’s triple to center. Her sharp, sinking liner was misread by Jessica Pomerleau, and the ball skipped through the center fielder and all the way to the fence to clear bases that had been loaded and make it an 11-5 score.

“We had a little discussion about refocusing and doing what we needed to do at bat,” Martin said. “Yeah, they can score a few runs, but we need to score a runs, too. We need to play defense and keep our mental game in there.”

Lancaster herself came around to score on Mackenzie Abbott’s RBI single two pitches later.

“It was awesome to be able to do that,” Lancaster said. “I was nervous going in. I was freaking out, and the girls just told me to calm down. I’ve always wanted to play here.”

“She came through big today,” Martin said of Lancaster, who was hitting out of the No. 7 spot in the lineup. “The bottom part of my lineup, they’re all hitting the ball. We need that.”

Armed with plenty of breathing room, Coach Martin turned the ball over to Tilton for the final three innings. She allowed just one unearned run on one hit while racking up five strikeouts to seal the win in relief of Meranda Martin.

Tilton, who crushed a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the second inning for her second roundtripper in as many playoff games, played like a player on a team with eight seniors trying to extend the magic for as many games as possible.

The top of the Richmond order was particularly lethal on Tuesday. The top three in the lineup went a combined 5 for 9 with five walks and nine runs scored. Senior Camryn Hurley was on base four times, scoring four times herself.

“I think it’s just for the love of the game,” Tilton said. “The majority of us, we’re so excited we’ve said that we want to play for two weeks. A lot of the girls on this team, we’ve had exposure to state games. We’re fortunate to have exposure to that. I think this was just another game, and we did our jobs. That’s all we can ask.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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