Spartans take lumps, then taste victory

After suffering their worst loss of the season, the Richmond Spartans picked themselves up less than a half hour later and came back to register their first victory of the 2009 season Saturday.
The Spartans were no match for St. Pius in their first game of the Excelsior Springs Tournament on Saturday. The Warriors blew a close game wide open in the fourth inning in a 16-2 victory. Richmond stayed close to St. Pius through the early frames.
The Warriors scored the first 4 runs in the second inning, but Richmond was able to cut the deficit in half on a 2-run double from Branden Evans in the top of the fourth.
The two-bagger by Evans brought home Kyle Ash and Corey Adkison who both reached on singles ahead of the two-out hit from the Richmond catcher.
The bottom of the fourth began calmly as the first two Warriors went down on strikes, but then 15 batters and 12 runs came to the plate before the final out could be recorded. The Spartans went down in order in the top of the fifth and the game was called.
The Spartan bats came back in the second game with their best outing of the young season as Richmond collected 10 hits in an 8-2 victory over Maryville. The Richmond offense was backed by a solid pitching performance from Josh Isgriggs, along with some timely defense as the Spartans pushed their record to 1-4.
The Spoofhounds grabbed an early lead with an unearned run in the top of the first inning, but the Spartans answered with a pair of tallies in the home half of the second inning. Colby Bowles reached on a one-out single, and one out later, Kyle Carroll collected his first varsity home run with a 2-run shot to right-center.
Ash pushed the Richmond lead to 3-1 in the third inning with a two-out single to chase Jordan Smith home after he had opened the frame with a double.
A Smithville threat was snuffed out in the fifth inning by some sparkling defense. The Warriors had two runners reach on a single and a Spartan error, but a line shot down the first base line was flagged down on a diving stop by first baseman Colby Bowles. Bowles stepped on the bag for the first out. He then threw to Adkison at home, who then caught the runner too far off the bag at third with his throw to Ash who applied the tag to complete the double play.
The twin killing sparked the Spartan bats as they opened up some breathing room in the sixth. Ash led off with a single, followed by a double from Adkison. With one out, Isgriggs brought a run home when he reached on a fielder’s choice. Carroll followed with a run-scoring single and Caleb Benhardt plated another run with a double. Zach McGill brought home the final run of the 5-run outburst with a single.
Isgriggs then retired the side in order to preserve Richmond’s first win of the season. The Spartan junior struck out 7 Warriors in the game, in addition to allowing just 5 hits and did not walk a batter.
The Spartans will have one more day to enjoy their victory as their game at Holden this afternoon has been postponed until April 24. Richmond will host Wellington-Napoleon Tuesday.
PHOTO: Richmond left fielder Jordan Smith hauls in a fly ball and then collides with center fielder Branden Evans in the Spartans’ loss to St. Pius in the first game of the Excelsior Springs Tournament on a very windy Saturday. Both players were shaken up, but remained in the game. (Photo by Russ Green/The Daily News.)

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