Richmond kept two streaks alive. It just took a little extra time, is all.
The Red Devils’ winning streak reached six straight Saturday night as they knocked off Homestead 9-4 in eight innings at McBride Stadium in the finale of the Bob Hauster Classic.
That put Richmond at 4-0 for this year’s Classic, played over the past two weekends. The Red Devils are 7-0 all-time in the event.
“We were going to come out this weekend, have good pitching and hit the ball,” said RHS sophomore Kyler Helms.
Helms earned the pitching victory against Homestead, and helped himself at the plate when the game went into extra innings. His two-run single in the top of the eighth highlighted a five-run inning for the Red Devils.
Nate Flannery tossed a perfect eighth as Kendal Baker tracked down a fly ball in center field to end the game.
“After we give up the lead and they tied the ballgame, it could have been real easy to shut down,” said RHS coach Tyler Lairson. “And we came right back and put a five-spot up. I can’t say enough about their character today.”
Helms struck out seven in seven innings. RHS was poised to end the game in the seventh before Homestead rallied for three runs with two outs.
Richmond responded immediately.
Parker Holland walked to lead off the top of the eighth, and Chandler Whalen followed with a sacrifice bunt.
Baker worked a walk, Isaak Snyder reached on an error and Matt Morrow brought home what turned into the game-winning run with a bases loaded fielder’s choice.
Tanner Marlow and Tyler Slawson also plated runs when both were hit by pitches to set up Helms’ two-run strike.
“We needed some runs,” Helms said. “I thought I could step up and hit the ball.”
Not getting down was key, according to Marlow, who scored one of Richmond’s five runs in the eighth inning.
“Just keep on putting the pressure, getting hits and getting runs,” Marlow said of the mindset.
Richmond defeated the Cincinnati Trailblazers 12-0 in five innings earlier Saturday, and also earned victories over Monroe Central and Hagerstown during last weekend’s Classic games.
Jordan Christian tossed a three-hit shutout against the Trailblazers, with Marlow tripling twice for three RBIs.
“It feels great. It was a team effort,” Marlow said.
Both games were.
Homestead, a 9-0 winner over Union County in its first game, got out to an early 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Richmond tied it 1-1 on an RBI single by Whalen in the second, and went ahead 2-1 when Morrow doubled in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice to center field by Christian.
Whalen and Morrow added RBIs in the sixth for the 4-1 advantage.
Whalen was 3-for-3 against the Spartans — 5-for-5 on the day — while Morrow went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Morrow also was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI against Cincinnati.
“I thought we showed phenomenal character,” Lairson said. “One of the things we talked about was learning how to win in close games, and learning how to win against good teams. And they (Homestead) are a very good ballclub. They have great hitters.”
Helms had three hits and Isaak Snyder two against Homestead (8-7).
“We’re bonding a lot as a team lately,” Marlow said. “It’s nice.”
Richmond (10-4) returns to action Thursday at home against Lincoln, while also opening North Central Conference play at McBride on Saturday in a doubleheader opposite Kokomo.
The Classic was named for a former longtime RHS assistant coach who died in 2011 after a two-year battle with cancer.
“It’s a great honor to be able to do this for him,” Lairson said of the Classic. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day.
” … It was obviously a great day. We’re doing some things better now. I think confidence is starting to grow. They’re learning how to win. Not only are are we learning how to win, they’re starting to expect to win, and that’s half the battle. If we can carry that mentality, especially going into conference, then this weekend, this past week couldn’t have gone any better for us.”