Members of the Richmond baseball program arrived on John Cate Field at Don McBride Stadium at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning and worked diligently to combat the remnants of the past two soggy days. Thanks in part to a great deal of teamwork and a window of dry skies, the Red Devils were able to host the opening round of North Central Conference play. The first game was played by the Titans of Indianapolis Arsenal Tech and the Bronchos of Lafayette Jefferson. Jeff came into the game as the #4-seed from the Western Division and Tech as the #5-seed from the Eastern. The Bronchos won the game by a score of 10-0 in five innings.
Lafayette Jeff then played against the host Red Devils in the second game of the day. Richmond won the right to host the day’s event by earning the #1-seed in the Eastern Division with a 7-1 record. Game time was originally scheduled for a 2pm start. Impending rainy weather and a shorter than usual first game allowed the two teams to move the beginning to their game up an hour for a 1 o’clock start.
RHS opened the scoring up in the bottom of the first inning thanks in large part to being issued three bases on balls to Josiah Sizemore, Brice Brown, and Nick Turner, respectively, a fielding error on a ball hit by Gabe Crowe, and a single by Mason Brewer. After one inning of play, the score was 4-0 in favor the home team Red Devils.
Richmond picked up a fifth run in the bottom of the second inning as Sizemore singled and then stole both second and third bases. He was then driven in as a ground out by Phillip Hobbs took the third baseman away from the hot corner and more towards the shortstop area of play.
Multiple stoppages of play occurred throughout the first four innings of the contest to provide the players with a more suitable playing surface as a constant rain fell from the skies from nearly the first pitch of the game. The players and coaches drew upon their many years of experience in addressing muddy and mucky baseball fields in times of unkind weather. And as all of the fans who attended the game could attest, the weather throughout the day was anything but kind. The game resumed after a 75-minute delay which saw a true sign of sportsmanship as players from both teams worked together to take multiple tarps off of the field and raking of drying agents throughout the field.
The Red Devils put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brewer led off with a single and then stole second base. Colton Fox then had a bunt single that advanced Brewer to third base. Fox took advantage of a base left open by the middle infielders and stole second. George Dickman hit a hard line drive to right field scoring both Brewer and Fox giving Richmond a 7-0 lead heading into the fifth inning. Due to the delay in action, RHS changed pitchers bringing in Josiah Sizemore for starter Brice Brown who had been cruising through the first four innings. Sizemore experienced an atypical outing as he walked three and gave up a single prior to leaving the mound in favor of Phillip Hobbs. It was those three walks and the single that provided the Bronchos with their lone run in the game.
Dickman singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and then stole second base. He advanced to third on a ground out to the second baseman by Hobbs. Brice Brown reached base on a Broncho error that scored Dickman.
The final result was a win for the Red Devils, 8-1 over Lafayette Jeff. The second round of the NCC will be played next Saturday. Richmond (14-4) will play at Knightstown Monday evening in a non-conference game scheduled to begin at 5:15pm. Lafayette Jeff (7-13) plays host to the Twin Lakes Indians at 6pm also on Monday.