Having lost three of their last four games heading into the Class 3, District 14 baseball tournament at Oak Grove Saturday, the Richmond Spartans were looking for good things to happen early. The Spartans jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first – watched that lead slip away and then scored the game winner in their final at bat for a 7-6 victory over Lawson.
Richmond, now 10-7, advances to this afternoon’s semifinal against top-seeded Grain Valley, an 11-2 first-round winner over Van Horn. The Eagles are 15-5, including a 4-3 win over the Spartans earlier in the season.
The Spartans got a pair of home runs in their win on Saturday with Colby Bowles and Corey Adkison going deep to help back the pitching of Branden Evans. It was Evans helping his own cause by hitting a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to chase home the winning run.
Richmond wasted little time getting on the board as Zach McGill reached on a Lawson error, followed by singles from Kyle Ash, Bowles and Adkison to stake the Spartans to a 2-0 lead. Lawson got a run back in the top of the third on a walk, an error and a single, but Richmond quickly answered in the home half of the inning. Ash reached on a two-out double, followed by Bowles’ round tripper for a 4-1 Richmond lead.
The Spartans tacked on 2 more runs in the fifth with another two-out rally. Bowles reached base with two gone and then stole second, but was able to coast home after Adkison belted the second Richmond home run of the afternoon.
The Spartans took their 6-1 lead into the top of the seventh, but the Cardinals would not go quietly. After three walks and three singles, the Cardinals fought back to tie the game at 6-6.
Zach McGill led off the bottom of the seventh with a single for the Spartans, followed by two more singles from Ash and Bowles, but McGill was thrown out at the plate. Adkison was issued an intentional walk to load the bases, with Evans ending the game when his fly ball to the outfield was deep enough to chase Ash home with the game winner, and a trip to the district semifinals.
The Spartans, the No. 4 seed, will play Grain Valley at 6:30 p.m. That is a change from the previously scheduled time.