Just when it looked as if Kokomo was making a serious charge at a doubleheader split, Richmond responded.
The Red Devils put five more runs on the scoreboard in the sixth inning and another two in the seventh as they completed a North Central Conference Saturday sweep with an 18-11 victory in Game 2 at McBride Stadium.
RHS won 10-2 in Game 1 as the Devils opened NCC play 2-0.
“It’s very hard to sweep in the NCC,” said RHS coach Tyler Lairson, whose squad pushed its winning streak to nine straight. “Anytime you have two games, if you can come out of the day with two wins, you’re pleased regardless of how it happened.”
Where to start with Richmond’s offensive production in Game 2?
* Matt Morrow: 6-for-6.
* Tanner Marlow and Tyler Slawson: five RBIs each.
* Kendal Baker and Isaak Snyder: three runs each.
* Chandler Whalen: three hits.
It was a big game for the Richmond offense, and a big day overall for a Red Devil squad that now stands at 13-4 overall.
“Those kinds of game, you can either shut down or you can bounce back. As a team, we bounced back and kept hitting,” Morrow said. “This whole team, 18 runs, that means the whole team is hitting. That’s good.”
Richmond took a 9-2 lead in Game 2, before the Wildkats struck for an eight-run fourth.
Richmond reclaimed the lead in the fifth, but Kokomo tied it 11-all in the bottom half of the inning.
Cue the sixth for the Red Devils.
Snyder hit a sacrifice fly to left field for what ultimately turned into the game-winning RBI. Marlow followed with an RBI single, and Slawson added a two-run base hit — his fourth for a 4-for-4 game.
One inning later, Marlow completed the scoring with a two-run double.
Marlow tripled earlier in the game, and finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
“It was a dogfight,” said Marlow, who also had a two-RBI triple in Game 1. “We had a couple of errors, but we managed to keep up the intensity, get base hits, key hits.”
Kyler Helms started for RHS, with Nate Flannery and Tyler Slawson pitching in relief.
Slawson threw the final three innings, limiting the Wildkats to one run on one hit as they dropped to 7-8, 0-2.
“Everybody’s playing pretty well, and we’re all doing what we need to do,” Slawson said. “A couple slip-ups here and there, but we’re not a team that gives up.”
They were a team that surged ahead — and stayed ahead — in Game 1.
Sophomore Jordan Christian tossed his third straight complete game from the mound as the right-hander limited Kokomo to four hits.
Christian also was 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored from the plate in Game 1.
“We needed a good start going into conference to get us a little more momentum going from what we already have,” Christian said. “We just need to keep building.
“We’re definitely swinging the bats really well right now, and pitching is doing what we have to do — just going out there, throwing strikes, filling up the zone and letting our defense play.”
Morrow’s RBI single in the bottom of the first gave the Red Devils an early lead, with Christian plating a second RHS run with a third-inning single.
Six Red Devils crossed the plate in the fourth as Richmond effectively put Game 1 away. Marlow’s two-run triple and a Whalen sacrifice fly highlighted that inning.
Parker Holland added a two-run double in the sixth. Slawson finished with three hits and Morrow two.
“(We’re) definitely swinging the bats,” Slawson said. “I think we’re starting to realize who we are as a team, and we’re playing really well together.”
Richmond returns to action Tuesday at Muncie Central for another NCC game, before returning to McBride on Wednesday to host the Bearcats.
The Red Devils also travel Saturday to Logansport for a conference doubleheader.
“I’m very proud of our offense for never quitting,” Lairson said.
“We’re doing a pretty good job offensively of finding ways on, but we still have those times where we let teams off the hook. We had bases loaded and nobody out, and we didn’t get anything out of it. Those are the things, even though we’re putting up those kinds of runs, that I still want to see us execute better.”