Richmond softball coach Kyle Ingram talks so much about playing to 21 outs that he’s sure his players are tired of hearing it.
Tired or not, the Red Devils got the message.
Elissa Tilton’s seventh-inning single lifted the Devils to a 3-2 win over Jay County to claim the championship in Saturday’s inaugural Richmond Invitational.
Tilton also struck out nine in a complete-game performance from the circle as the freshman was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
“I was thinking that I had to get the hit, and I told myself I’d do it,” said Tilton, who also tossed two innings in relief in Richmond’s 12-7 win over Hagerstown in the day’s first game.
Richmond set itself up for success from the start of the inning.
Mackenzie Taylor, Emily Gaddis and Bre Wilson had back-to-back-to-back singles, and Tilton’s one-out base hit to right field plated pinch-runner Schuylar Hofer for the winning run.
“They’re tired of hearing about it, but we preach to them it takes 21 outs,” said Ingram, whose squad is now 2-0. “And we’ve got 21 outs. Until that team gets us out 21 times, we’re still in it.”
Richmond rallied from a five-run deficit to halt Hagerstown, while Jay County knocked off Eaton (Ohio) 8-2 to reach the final.
Eaton won the consolation game 19-3 over Hagerstown. Eaton’s Tayler Roell had a double, with teammate Kelsey Roberts providing three hits and Ciara Weaver two.
Tilton retired the first 10 batters she faced in the championship, and the Red Devils held a 1-0 lead on a third-inning RBI by Courtney Morgan.
Jay County tied the game in the top of the fifth, but the Red Devils answered back in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double from Tilton.
Jay County’s Katlin Petro drove in a run in the top of the sixth, tying the game 2-2 and setting the stage for the seventh inning.
“We’ve got two games under our belt,” Ingram said. “We’ve got a lot of things we can work on, but we take a lot of positives from today, too.”
Tilton had three hits and Gaddis two for the Red Devils.
Richmond slugged 17 hits in its first game against Hagerstown, which was the season opener for the Red Devils.
“Coming out here, being our first time out on the field, it was great,” Gaddis said.
“It was very frustrating (having games postponed). It’d be beautiful out, or at least cloudy and it looked like we’d be able to play, and then it’d just start raining. You’d hear on the announcements, ‘Varsity game canceled.’ It was really frustrating.”
Larissa Boles struck out eight for Jay County.
Richmond returns to action Wednesday at home against Winchester.
“They could have mailed it in against Hagerstown, down 6-1, absolutely nothing going right for them. They could have mailed it in here (in the final),” Ingram said. “You get a lead, you get tied. You get a lead, you get tied.
“They kept battling. That’s just a signature of the girls we’ve had. It’s been a thing we’ve had for the last couple of years.”