Thunder rolled in 11-0 loss to Wildcats

Barber’s two hits only ones Richmond Thunder get in shutout

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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LAURINBURG — Richmond Thunder pitcher Greyson Way got out of a first-inning jam with a strikeout and forcing two fielder’s choices.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Catelyn Chisholm was a thorn in Richmond's backside all game long, both at the plate and in the field, in the Thunder's 11-0 loss to Chisholm's Wildcats.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Katelyn Chisholm was a thorn in Richmond’s backside all game long, both at the plate and in the field, in the Thunder’s 11-0 loss to Chisholm’s Wildcats. Here, Chisholm scores Carolina’s 11th run of the game on a passed ball in the top of the fifth inning.

The problem for Way and the Thunder on Saturday against the Carolina Wildcats was that there were too many jams.

Way and the Thunder fell to the Wildcats 11-0 in the mercy rule-shortened first Gold Bracket game, and third game of the day in the Eastern Summer Slam at the James L. Morgan Recreation Complex in Laurinburg.

Richmond drops to the losers’ bracket and will play Diamond Elite for a second time at 9 a.m. Sunday.

The Thunder had earned the No. 2 seed heading into bracket play of the double-elimination tournament after two wins earlier in the day. Against the Cardinals in game one, Way and Ragan Liles combined on a no-hitter for the Thunder. In game two, the Thunder squeezed by Diamond Elite, 6-5.

But the third game of the day proved to be the Thunder’s undoing. The team lacked timely hits and clean fielding and the Wildcats offered both in abundance.

Shortstop Katelyn Chisholm had an awful lot to do with that. The Wildcats’ defensive standout propelled Carolina on offense and stopped anything the Thunder tried to muster at the plate by stellar play in the field.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Thunder catcher Sam Bryant applies the tag to Morgan Hatchell and awaits the call of the umpire. Hatchell was called out on the play.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Thunder catcher Sam Bryant applies the tag to Morgan Hatchell and awaits the call of the umpire. Hatchell was called out on the play.

Chisholm scored the game’s first run in the top of the first. She led off the inning by beating out a grounder to Thunder shortstop Jadyn Johnson. Chisholm moved to second on a fielder’s choice but scored on a two-out double by Skyler McCoy to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.

The box score shows both teams went down quietly in the second, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Morgan Hatchell roped a one-out liner to right field and she raced around the bases. She rounded second base and appeared to pull up slightly at third before deciding to go for the inside-the-park home run.

But right fielder Carley Lambeth had thrown in the ball as quickly as she could to second baseman Savanna Barber. Barber relayed the throw to shortstop Ragan Liles, who fired home to catcher Sam Bryant.

Beyonce Oxendine walked but Way struck out Ramsey Milligan looking to end the inning.

Other than a single by Barber, Richmond went down easily for Hatchell, the Carolina pitcher, in the second. Hatchell struck out two and got Bryant to fly out to left field.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Richmond speedster and catalyst Jadyn Johnson couldn't beat out this bunt attempt to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Richmond speedster and catalyst Jadyn Johnson couldn’t beat out this bunt attempt to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Wildcats loaded the bases in the top of the third, ready to enlarge their 1-0 lead — and it almost happened. With two outs, Morgan Britt walked and Arica Gandy shot a liner to third that Liles couldn’t handle. McCoy followed with a single but Way managed to end the threat by getting Katlyn Jones to ground a first-pitch strike to the first baseman.

Carolina’s next rally wasn’t cut short. The Wildcats tacked on three runners — all with two outs — in the top of the fourth inning. Kasey West had an RBI single and Chisholm hit a two-run triple over Lambeth’s head in right field. Carolina led 4-0 latter four innings, as Richmond went down 1-2-3 in its half of the inning.

The Wildcats weren’t quite done. With one out, they managed to tally seven runnings in the top of the fifth — highlighted by Chisholm’s two-run single, and later she scored — to induce the mercy rule.

On the mound, Hatchell limited Richmond to only two hits, both by Barber, in five innings and struck out three.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Savanna Barber was a rare offensive highlight for Richmond on Saturday against the Wildcats. Barber managed the Thunder's only two hits of the game.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Savanna Barber was a rare offensive highlight for Richmond on Saturday against the Wildcats. Barber managed the Thunder’s only two hits of the game.

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