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Richmond nips Topsail in tournament title game


Topsail’s Summer Darnell (left) dives back to first base as Richmond’s Jessica Steen waits for the ball at the Beach Diamond Invitational at West Brunswick. (Photo by Mike Spencer)


SHALLOTTE | Despite collecting only three hits on the night, the Topsail softball team put itself in a position to win entering the seventh tied 2-2 with the Richmond Raiders.

The Raiders, however, came through with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Pirates 3-2 in the championship game of the Beach Diamond Invitational on  Wednesday.

Summer Jacobs got the win for Richmond, while Summer Darnell picked up the loss.

The Raiders got the winning run in the seventh thanks to two errors by the Pirates and a passed ball. After Samantha Jacobs reached on the first error, the passed ball and a sacrifice bunt moved her to third with one out. Jacobs scored later on the next at bat after a routine ground ball bounced out of the glove of shortstop Zoe Howard.

Even with the loss, Pirates coach Amber Passwaters feels the experience of playing strong opponents in a tournament setting is a definite plus moving forward.

“This was a great practice for the playoffs,” Passwaters said. “These are the best three teams we have faced, in this tournament. So it’s been great. It helps identify a lot of things that we need to work on.”

“These girls aren’t used to actually playing softball games. They’re used to five innings and then the run rule coming in. We needed stuff like this so we can prepare for the playoffs, so when we get in this kind of situation, we’re not freaking out. We know what to expect and we can handle it.”

Passwaters was especially happy with the performance on the mound by Darnell, who despite picking up the loss pitched a complete game and gave up just seven hits.

“With her, she’s learning the mental part of the game,” Passwaters said. “She needed something like this. Nobody likes to lose, but it was very good for her to start working on her mental game. I think she did good in the end.”

The Pirates started the scoring in the top of the second when Mindi White doubled to drive in Darnell from first to take a 1-0 lead.  After Richmond scored in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 lead, White answered, taking the first pitch of the fifth inning from Jacobs over the center field wall to tie the game at 2-2.

White was the bright spot offensively for the Pirates, as she supplied two of the Pirates’ three hits on the evening. She finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs.