High School Sports

Big inning advances Richmond County in NCHSAA 4A softball

Moving to the West Region hasn’t slowed Richmond County softball.

The Raiders struck for six runs in the fifth inning Wednesday to turn back Olympic 10-4 in the third round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs. Richmond County (21-4) turned a precarious lead into a game-changing rally and a step closer to the region final.

“It gave us a lot of confidence at the plate,” Raiders coach Wendy Wallace said. “We went up there swinging more relaxed. We were scratching run for run where one scored and the other scored, but they hit their stride in that inning.”

Richmond County, playing in the West for the first time, led 4-3 when the Raiders’ offense roared to life. The first five Raiders got on base, with Doodle Jacobs driving in Kelsey Mabe with a single, followed by Katie Satterfield’s two-run homer over the right-field fence for a 7-3 lead. Haleigh Denham slammed a two-run triple and scored on a wild pitch to cap the uprising.

“It was a spark plug,” Wallace said. “We seemed to be hitting them at the right time. That’s a big step up. (Satterfield is) a senior, and she’s gotten big hits for us at the right time all year long.”

Five Raiders collected at least two hits, with Mabe going 4-for-4. Jacobs added three, and Chelsea Davis, Owen Bowers and Denham had two each.

“We knew we were facing a good pitcher who threw strikes, so we wanted to come out and be aggressive at the plate and put pressure on the defense,” Wallace said.

With a big lead to work with, winning pitcher NaLee Jacobs breezed through the final four innings, limiting Olympic (19-3) to a run on two hits during that span.

“Between the fourth and fifth inning, it just derailed,” Trojans coach Jeremy Gooden said. “We played like we were already defeated. I went out and talked to my pitcher (Lori McCoy) and pulled my infield in and told them to stop playing like they’d already been beaten. It was only the top of the fifth, but it’s the mental toughness that’ll get you sometime.”