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The Richmond Lady Spartans honored their nine seniors Tuesday night by starting each one in their MRVC East meeting with visiting Holden. The night not only recognized the largest senior class ever for the softball program, but by the end of the evening, the Lady Spartans had another reason to celebrate as they found themselves in first place.
Richmond helped its own cause with a 7-3 victory over the Eagles, and thanks to Lexington splitting a doubleheader at Carrollton, the Lady Spartans now hold a half-game lead. Lexington took the first game 8-4, before the Lady Trojans came back to take the nightcap 10-5 to give Carrollton a 7-2 league mark.
Richmond bats posted 13 hits as the Lady Spartans improved to 7-1 in the conference and 13-5 overall.
Richmond Coach Staci Maddux said being able to start all nine seniors helped make it a special night for her. She also added that getting some hits early in the game helped her team relax.
“We hit the ball well early in the game to jump out in front and gain a lot of confidence,” she said. “Whitney (Martens) and Hayley (Clubine) did a great job.”
The Lady Spartans jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a 2-run double from Clubine – the first of her 4 hits on the night – and a run-scoring single by Baylyn Jennings. Hannah Alpers turned in two-out triple in the second inning into a run when she scored on a passed ball for a 4-0 Richmond lead.
After Holden got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the third, the Lady Spartans came right back in the bottom of the frame. Clubine led off with a triple and scored on Jennings home run for a 6-2 Richmond advantage. The Eagles were able to push across another run in the fourth, but that would be it. Alpers drove in the final run of the game in the sixth when she flew out to center to bring home Stephanie Williams, who started the inning with a single.
Martens pitched the first 4 frames for the Lady Spartans and surrendered 5 hits and striking out 5. Only 1 of the 3 runs she allowed was earned. Clubine finished the final 3 and gave up a pair of hits and a walk with a half dozen strikeouts.
The Lady Spartan junior varsity added another win to their total with an 11- 5 victory. Kristie Spiers faced 21 batters in her 4 innings of pitching duty. She gave up a hit, but walked 7 to go along with 4 strikeouts and a hit batter. Spiers was charged with 5 runs, but only 3 earned.
Kelley Martens drove in 3 runs for Richmond, with Chelsea Hook plating a pair. Alex Phillips and Adrian Tackett drove in a run each for the Lady Spartans. Hook had 2 of Richmond’s 4 hits with Martens and Phillips getting one apiece.
Leadoff hitter MacKenzie McGill drew 3 of the 8 walks issued to Lady Spartan batters, with Martens drawing a pair of free passes.