Richmond baseball has the host team tonight.
The Red Devils face Greenfield-Central in the second semifinal of Class 4A Sectional 9 on Greenfield’s Molinder Field.
Anderson plays New Castle at 5:30 p.m. in tonight’s first semifinal, followed by Richmond-Greenfield around 7:30.
RHS advanced with an 11-4 victory late Thursday night over Connersville to end the tournament’s opening round.
The Red Devils and Cougars did not play during the regular season.
“I know they are going to be a very good hitting team,” said RHS coach Tyler Lairson. “I know they are solid defensively. They are well coached. We’re going to have to come out and throw strikes and play defense and scrap together runs.”
What the Devils did in the opener was score early — and often.
Richmond pushed seven runs across in the first inning to take a commanding lead over the Spartans.
It was a much different game than the first time the Red Devils faced Connersville this season. RHS led in that game, too, before the Spartans rallied late on their home diamond for a 4-3 victory in early April.
No rally this time.
RHS sophomore right-hander Jordan Christian threw six solid innings. He surrendered three runs in the top of the second, then responded with four straight hitless, scoreless innings.
Nate Flannery pitched the seventh as Richmond improved to 21-7.
“Sectionals, you definitely come in and have a lot of nerves,” said Christian, who struck out eight and limited Connersville to three hits, all in the second inning. “Getting this first one out of the way, we feel comfortable. We know where we’re playing. We know how to play. We feel good coming into this Saturday.”
The final is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday.
Tanner Marlow had three hits, three runs scored and two RBIs for the Red Devils, while Kendal Baker had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Baker and Parker Holland both hit first-inning doubles off Greenfield’s giant wall in left field, while Matt Morrow slugged an RBI triple.
Kyler Helms also had an RBI double that bounced off the left-field wall in the second inning, and Isaak Snyder, Tyler Slawson, Christian and Chandler Whalen all scored runs.
“Overall, pleased with our performance,” Lairson said of Thursday’s win.
“We caught a couple of breaks. They made a couple of mistakes, but we took advantage of those mistakes. We’re at that time of the season where if you make mistakes, they are going to get taken advantage of, and we did a good job of that.”
Richmond did not play New Castle in the regular season and split a pair of North Central Conference games with Anderson.
Greenfield (13-10) advanced to the semifinal with a 7-3 win Thursday against Pendleton Heights. New Castle defeated Mt. Vernon (Fortville) 8-5 on Wednesday in Sectional 9’s first game. Anderson drew the bye.
Greenfield won last year’s sectional, played at Pendleton.
“We have to put the ball in play more,” Christian said. “We struck out too many times (against Connersville). We know they’re going to be good. We have to come out with a lot of confidence and just be aggressive.”