FLOYD, Va. – For the third consecutive season the softball team at Richlands High School is headed to the state semifinals.
Behind 12 strikeouts, two singles and an RBI from Mac Osborne, the Blue Tornado moved past the Floyd County Buffaloes 7-2 in the VHSL Class 2 state quarterfinals on Tuesday.
It was just another day at the office for the Richlands hurler.
“Mac is one of our better players on the team. We expect a lot from Mac in the pitching circle—definitely, but at the bat also,” said Richlands manager Ronnie Davis. “We get runners moved so she can knock them in. She had an excellent day.”
Osborne was quick to deflect any praise to her team following the Richlands victory.
“We hit the ball really well. For a pitcher, when we score, it just makes my job easier,” said Osborne, the Blue Tornado ace. “The defense played great tonight. There’s nothing more I can ask for from the team.”
Her team got out to a quick start on the offensive end as Floyd County hurler Olivia Yates plunked Richlands center fielder Chloe Newberry to lead off the contest. Two batters later, Osborne reached on a single before being relieved by courtesy runner Alyssa Lee on the base path.
Out of the clean-up spot, Ginger Short laid down the safety squeeze to score Newberry for the first run of the game.
“Usually, if I can get on base first, that is usually what starts the team,” said Newberry. “I try my best to get around the bases, get a hit or whatever I can do to help my team.”
Lee came around to score after Emma Crawford’s RBI single to push Richlands out to a 2-0 lead in the first.
In the third, Katlynn Baldwin drove in a run with a single and in the fourth, Osborne drove in Savannah Stevenson with a RBI and Newberry scored on a throwing error as the Blues grabbed a 5-0 advantage.
Not only were the bats hot for Richlands through the first four frames, the smoke was also rolling off of the arm of the Blue Tornado’s junior ace.
Heading into the fifth frame, Osborne was perfect with eight strikeouts on the afternoon.
Morgan Harris made up for her error in the third inning by breaking up the perfect game with a single. However, the first offensive production for the Buffaloes fizzled soon thereafter.
Lauren Earls extended the lead to 6-0 for Richlands in the sixth inning with a RBI single of her own.
Floyd found its way onto the scoreboard in the sixth as Tiara Reed’s sacrifice RBI scored Makenna Reed to cut the Buffaloes deficit to five at 6-1.
Richlands was not finished in the final frame as left fielder Ally Staten’s groundout scored Baldwin from third to cease the artillery out of the Richlands camp with a score of 7-1.
Carly Quesinberry’s RBI single accounted for Floyd County’s final run in the final inning, but Osborne shut the door once again
As the Blues came off the field, they knew it was just the latest step towards the ultimate goal of a state title.
“It was a really good day on the offensive side. We want it spread out. We can’t be top heavy or lower half of the lineup heavy,” said Davis. “When you have people from any part of the lineup scoring and people coming off the bench and getting doubles, you’re just tickled to death that they are swinging at good pitches I think anyone that walks up to that plate can hit the ball anytime anywhere.”
Osborne knows that at this point of the season, everyone is continuing to get better.
“We gotta get better. Every team from here on out is good,” Osborne said. “Every step you make you’re playing better teams. We just have to keep our A game.”
As for Richlands opponent, it will not be a stranger.
The Blues are set to take on the defending Class 2 state champions from Page County on Friday at 1 p.m. on the campus of Radford University. It will be a rematch of the Class 2 title matchup from a season ago when Page County prevailed. This time, the Blues look for a different result.
“We are tickled to death that we are playing in Radford again in the state semis,” said Davis. “We are familiar with Page and Page is familiar with us.”
Richlands 7, Floyd County 2
Richlands 201 201 1—7 9 0
Floyd County 000 001 1—2 2 3
Osborne and J. Stevenson. Yates and Reed. W—Osborne. L—Yates. HR—none.