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Spartans grab top spot

Branden Evans and the Richmond Spartans gained a little measure of revenge against the Lexington Minutemen Thursday at Southview.
Evans was on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision at Lexington earlier this season as Minuteman pitcher Matt Ritchie shut down the visiting Spartans. On Thursday, it was Evans’ turn as the Spartans chalked up their seventh straight victory with a 2-0 decision.
Richmond is now 4-1 in the MRVC East race and puts them a half game ahead of Lexington’s 3-1 record.
It was the first loss in nine games this season for Lexington, who entered the game ranked No. 2 in the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 2 Baseball Rankings.
Evans kept the Lexington bats quiet again as he struck out a dozen Minutemen on Thursday after fanning 11 in the earlier meeting.
However, it was his Houdini act in the seventh inning that preserved the Richmond victory.
Just one-half inning after Richmond had grabbed a 2-0 lead, the Minutemen opened the top of the seventh with Joe McLaughlin reaching on an error, followed by Josh Fiene reaching first after he was hit by an Evans pitch.
Josh Kaullen loaded the bases with a single, but Evans battled back to strikeout the next two Minutemen and getting the third out on a comeback to the mound.
The Spartans picked up their only runs in the home half of the sixth as Jordan Smith led off the inning with a single, followed by a double from Reny Reis, but Smith was thrown out at the plate, and Reis was out at home on Zach McGill’s double.
Evans helped his own cause with a double to bring home McGill with the first run of the game, and Kyle Ash added a bit of insurance with another run-scoring double.
In addition to his 12 strikeouts, Evans hit two batters, walked three and allowed just three hits. Ritchie surrendered five hits and one hit batter while striking out five.
The Spartans step out of league play on Monday as they host the Lawson Cardinals at Southview.

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