It may seem like an unusual scenario when both coaches see positives in a lopsided game, but it happened Thursday night, March 30, at McBride Stadium, when Hagerstown defeated Richmond 17-2 in a game halted after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick start. Cole Tracy led off the top of the first inning with a single, Ben Williams followed with another single and the runners advanced on a ground out by Collin Beaty. Wyatt Burris followed with a single to score Tracy and Kayne Ervin brought Williams home with a sacrifice fly. A double from Will Combs later plated Burris to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
The Red Devils had a rapid response. Austin Rohe led off the bottom of the inning with a solid single. Nick Whalen drew a walk to join him on base. Trey Pipenger smacked a two-run triple later in the inning to make the score 3-2.
It turned out to be the only runs the Red Devils scored in the game while the Tigers continued to light up the scoreboard.
The Tigers added 3 more runs in the top of second, 6 more in the top of the third, and 5 more in the top of the fourth to expand their lead to 17-2.
The red-hot Tigers got 15 hits from 11 players in 31 at bats. Cole Tracy collected 3 hits, Kayne Ervin, and Ben Williams each had 2 hits, with Ervin driving in 5 runs. Austin Rohe and Wyatt Wolfe led the Richmond offense with 2 hits each.
Quad Mull, Kaagen Kendall, and Tracy shared the pitching duties for Hagerstown only allowing 5 hits and striking out 10.
The two teams are not in the same enrollment class, the same conference, or the same sectional, but both programs share a mutual respect and both programs see a benefit of competing with the other. The coaches shared their thoughts after the game.
Hagerstown head coach Jay Hale said the game gave him an opportunity to give several players game experience to see how they would react under pressure. “I like the way we are playing, especially for this time of the season,” Hale said. “The kids have worked hard to get to this point. Our main focus is always ‘how can we get better’ and ‘how can we be playing our best at the end of the season.’ That is why we like playing strong programs like Richmond. The best part of this game for me was being able to get every player on our roster some playing time tonight.”
Richmond head coach Dave Marker said he was pleased with the attitude and the willingness to learn that his team has displayed as they work to improve for conference and postseason play.
“We play Hagerstown because we know they will always be fundamentally sound.” Marker said. “You don’t win your season in the first few games. I will take an early season whipping if it helps us prepare to win the conference and sectional games. We did not help ourselves today. We made four errors in our opener last night and four more tonight on routine plays that could have got us out of innings.
We did not cross the Ts or dot the Is defensively and that led to them having big innings. We got what we earned with our play. No one fears us. We can beat anyone on our schedule or lose to anyone on our schedule based on how we play that day. But our players’ attitudes have been great this year, they are respectful to the officials, their opponent, and to each other, and they are working to improve.”
Hagerstown (3-0) 3 3 6 5 0 17
Richmond (0-2) 2 0 0 0 0 2
Winning pitcher: Mull, losing pitcher: D’Shawn Harper — Hagerstown hits: Beaty, Burris, Combs, Ervin (2), Aiden Grover, Anthony Kelley, Will King, Mull, Tracy, Gavin Walter, Ben Williams — Richmond hits: Trey Pipenger, Austin Rohe (2), Wyatt Wolfe (2).
A version of this article appeared in the April 5 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.