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For the second time in as many meetings, the Holden Eagles had their batting eyes locked in against Richmond pitchers. After pounding out three home runs in a 14-7 win last week at Richmond, the Eagles collected 9 more hits – 4 for extra bases Tuesday in a 11-9 victory over the visiting Spartans.
The Holden win puts them in position for the MRVC East title with a 7-2 league mark with a game scheduled at Higginsville this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Richmond drops out of the picture as they end the conference season with a 6-4 showing which puts the Spartans in third place. Lexington has ended its league play with a 7-3 mark and needs a Holden loss to share the crown with the Eagles.
Waiting over a half-hour for the umpires to show up didn’t seem to bother the Richmond batters as the Spartans jumped on Eagle starter Bryce Evans for 4 runs on 5 hits in the top of the first inning.
After the first two Richmond batters were retired, the Spartans got five consecutive singles from Kyle Ash, Corey Adkison, Kyle Carroll, Branden Evans and Trevor Nichols. That was followed by Reny Reis reaching when he was plunked by a pitch, and Jake Vandiver reaching on a walk.
The Eagles quickly responded by getting the first seven batters on base in the home half of the first. Zak Anstine began the inning with a double, followed by RBI-singles from Jimmy Bryant and AJ Langston. Evans and James Hood also added run-scoring singles as Holden grabbed a 5-4 lead.
Richmond then responded with 4 more runs in the second frame. With one out, Ash and Adkison reached on singles, and Carroll reached when he was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Nichols walked with the bases loaded, and Reis drove in a pair of runs with a double, followed by a run-scoring single from Vandiver for an 8-5 Richmond lead.
The Eagles cut the deficit to a run with a 2-run second inning, and then took the lead for good in the third with 2 more runs on doubles from Anstine and David Lerda.
Anstine took over on the mound for Holden in the fourth inning to quiet the Spartan bats. The Eagle sophomore gave up a run-scoring single by Reis in the fourth for an unearned run, but he would retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced including the final 8. Holden would add a 2-run home run off the bat of Lerda in the fifth for a little more breathing room.
Evans pitched the first two frames for the Spartans, with Nichols working the final four.
The Spartans end the regular season with an 8-7 record and will take a No. 4 seed into the start of District 14 play at Oak Grove on Saturday.