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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The host Tigers scored 8 runs in their first at bat Thursday against the Richmond Spartans in the opening game of the Excelsior Springs tournament. The Tigers went on to a 9-1 win and the Spartans – although battling tougher on Saturday – lost to Savannah and Lawson go winless for the four-team event.
Richmond rallied to scratch out a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie Savannah in the opening game on Saturday. However, the Savages scored in the eighth frame for a 2-1 win. In the second game, the Spartans and Cardinals were tied at 2-all, but Lawson scored single tallies in the second and third innings on the way to a 6-4 win.
Richmond got another good pitching performance from Kaleb Heber in Saturday’s first game against Savannah. Heber pitched all 8 innings for the Spartans and scattered 5 hits – 3 of those coming in the first inning as the Savages grabbed a 1-0 lead. Heber ended the afternoon with 7 strikeouts, hit one batter and did not surrender a walk.
Savannah’s Taylor Gilbert matched Heber’s effort on the mound. He also went the distance and gave up 6 hits while fanning 10 and did not walk a batter.
After Savannah’s Blake McGinniss’ run-scoring single with two outs in the first inning both teams traded zeros on the scoreboard until Richmond finally broke through to send the game into extra innings. Quinton Maxwell singled with two outs for Richmond in the bottom of the sixth. He then swiped second base. Maxwell scored when he hustled his way home on Heber’s hard ground ball to the second baseman who couldn’t come up with the ball. Richmond threatened in the seventh as Jordan Beck reached on a one-out double, but he was stranded.
After missing a chance to score in the seventh, Savannah broke through in the eighth on a one-out double by Kydone Wandfluh and an RBI-single by Brett Ussary. The Spartans had a pair of base runners in the bottom of the eighth, but came up empty.