The Richmond 12-and-under Little League team has survived to play another day.
Richmond forced a winner-takes-all showdown against St. Clair, after its 15-3 four inning victory Thursday at the Port Huron Little League Fields.
Richmond brought 13 hitters up to bat in the fourth inning and scored nine runs to blow past St. Clair. That sets up a rematch at 6 p.m. today to decide the district champion.
“These are a great group of kids,” Richmond coach Mike Schade said. “They never give up. This team scored 12 runs on us a couple days ago in the first inning and my kids don’t quit.
“They came back and battle like they always do. You have to win today to play tomorrow, that was the thinking coming in. You show up at every game ready to play baseball. That’s what this team does and that’s why they are where they are at.”
St. Clair defeated Richmond 13-6 Tuesday behind the big first inning. On Thursday however, Richmond was able to jump off to a fast start. Richmond scored two runs in the first inning and three runs in the third inning to jump out to an advantage.
“We just believed in ourselves,” Jacob Denapole said. “We are just playing together and believing in ourselves. We just have to show up and play.”
Colton Stricker was the winning pitcher for Richmond. He went the distance and struck out six. Reese Rinna added three hits, including a double and a grand slam to pace Richmond at the plate.
Matt Bartolomucci was 4-for-4 from the plate with a solo home run and Stricker added a triple with two RBIs.
James King took the loss for St. Clair and Matthew Buslepp had a three run home run.
“We have a bunch of strong kids,” St. Clair coach Greg Gee said. “We have been around .500 during the summer in tournament ball but they never give up.
“We will come in (today) and our pitching will be strong. Our bats will be alive. I’m totally ready for (today). We are set up good for (today). It’s going to come down to what they do. It’s not a coaching game. If we swing away like we can from one to 14 we will be just fine.”
St. Clair said it will be important to get off to a fast start and simply play its game.
“We have to stay strong like we have been and hit the ball and make good plays,” St. Clair’s Erek Beauregard said. “I think we will still have confidence.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.