Getting into the Swing of Things 

By: Sydney Stigall

     The Richmond Spartan baseball team traveled to Excelsior Springs on Saturday, March 10, 2018 for their annual season opener baseball jamboree. The Spartans played three innings in each of their three scrimmages. They competed against the Lawson Cardinals, Smithville Warriors, and the Excelsior Springs Tigers.

     The Spartans faced off against the Cardinals for their first challenge. Senior Laine Todd pitched for the Spartans in the beginning, striking many of the batters out, but soon Coach Quick felt it was time to give another pitcher a shot at it. Senior Hunter Loftin then came in to relieve Todd. Then with Todd moving into catcher, the show was back on the road. For the final inning, Junior Brendan Gant came in to finish out the pitching. The boys scored two runs just in the first inning, but then scored two more: one in the second and the other in the third. After the first battle, the Spartans fell short for their game against the Cardinals. They lost by one run, 5-4.

     The next scrimmage, the Spartans had home team advantage. Clayton Coldwell, Junior, pitched the first two innings, Gant came in to close out the game with Todd catching all three. The Spartans had a rough start with their bats, three up and three down in the bottom of the first. In the first inning, one of the Warriors hit a short pop fly into left field. Senior Brendyn Grisham charged in hard to make the first play of the game. The next two batters made it on, but that did not stop the Spartans from working hard and making plays. A Warrior hit a hard grounder to Senior Dylan Alexander picking up the second base runner for the out at third, but not after putting one on the board. The Spartans weren’t able to produce with their first at bat. The second inning began, three batters came up and three batters went down as Coldwell pitched a great inning. Next for the Spartans, the hits came quick. Gant with a ground out to second, Sophomore Tyler Pyle followed with a hard hit to second, and was safe. Next up to bat was Jay Jiovenale with another sizzling ground ball to the short stop, flustering the poor kid. And once again, the runners were safe. The hits stopped there. For the last inning of this game, Gant came in to pitch. The Warriors came up to bat ready for this inning, or so they thought. The first batter struck out, but the second batter picked up his slack and hit a hard line drive single to left field. The third batter dug a pitch out of the ground to hit a short fly ball to Gaven Oldham, Junior, in center. Running to the ball, Oldham made a diving catch to make the second out. For the third and final out, the fourth batter pops up to Oldham. At the conclusion of the game, the Warriors beat the Spartans 1-0.

     For their last and final scrimmage, the Tigers and the Richmond Spartans were running neck and neck for majority of the game. The Spartans were the visitors for this game. In the first inning, they started off strong. Oldham hit a single out to left field followed by Calvin Swafford hitting a sizzler grounder to the pitcher causing an error. Both runners safe. Batting third, Todd was hit by a pitch, advancing the runners to fill the bases. Coldwell then hit a deep fly ball to left, getting two RBIs (runners batted in) and a double. Alexander got a RBI out of his ground ball to the right side as well as advanced the runner to third. The next two batters tried keeping the streak going, but fell short. The Spartans had scored three runs. Moving to the field, Pyle pitched for the first part of the inning, but soon grew tired as Nathan came in to relieve him. Todd caught all three innings. The batters for the Tigers came ready with reciprocating hits to the Spartans. They, too, scored three. For the second inning, both teams went scoreless. Lastly, the final inning for the day. The Spartans fell short this inning, scoring none. But the Tigers battled through their exhaustion and scored two more off of Jiovenale who closed the last inning. The final score to the game was 5-3.

     Things are looking good for the Spartans as they begin their season here at RHS. “It was the best jamboree I’ve been to in my four years being here”, states Todd, “We seemed more focused this year, we need to progress and our bats have to get going before anything else.” The jamboree was just the beginning. The team knows what they need to improve on as they prep for their first game on the road in Chillicothe on Tuesday, March 20th at 4:30pm.

Posted by scomegys On 26 March, 2018 at 10:52 AM