Nick Richmond had a nice, relatively stress-free night in leading Tates Creek to a 10-1 victory over Lexington Christian Academy in the 43rd District baseball opener.
Richmond, a junior right-hander, pitched a complete game, and he helped himself by collecting two hits and two RBI as the Commodores beat LCA for the fifth time in a row over the past two seasons.
Tates Creek advances to face No. 1 Lexington Catholic in Tuesday's semifinals, after No. 5 Lafayette plays host Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 5:30 p.m. semifinal.
A 75-minute lightning delay in the middle of the Monday night's game didn't bother the unflappable Richmond. He had a bag of Skittles and a Gatorade while waiting for play to resume.
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Richmond said there was "no doubt" he would return to the mound. "Everything was fine. I had a jacket on the whole time, just sitting in the dugout and staying warm.
"I felt great." Richmond said. "The coaches relied on me, and we got the job done as a team."
Commodores Coach Dom Fucci wasn't surprised Richmond was able to weather the long interruption.
"He's a good athlete, and he's done a great job for us all year on the hill," Fucci said. "He did a fantastic job tonight."
Richmond gave up five hits, struck out five and walked one. He was backed by solid defense and a robust offense.
Unranked Tates Creek, the defending district champion, jumped ahead with three runs in the second, and padded its lead with three more in the third and three more in the fourth.
Blake Rose got the first rally going with a single, and Austin Younce doubled him home. After Richmond singled, Tanner Hart drove in two runs with a double to the left-center gap.
The Commodores loaded the bases with no outs in the third. Javon Shelby walked, Rose singled and Mitch Waton had a bunt single. After Shelby scored on a passed ball, Richmond delivered a two-run single.
Two LCA errors helped Tates Creek stretch its lead to 9-1 in the fourth, and Younce had another run-scoring hit.
"We were able to bunch those three runs in the second and third, and that made it a lot easier on our pitcher," Fucci said.
"And hitting is contagious. Our guys were feeling pretty comfortable at the plate."
No. 22 LCA, which won the All "A" Classic small-school state title earlier this month, didn't generate much offense against Richmond. It got three of its five hits in the fourth inning, including a double by Aaron Johnson and an RBI single by Cody Kalinowski.
But Richmond got out of the jam with a strikeout and fly-out.
Eagles Coach Keith Galloway said he was "disappointed we didn't make some defensive plays when we needed to."
He was impressed with the way Richmond pitched after the lightning delay. "I thought his curveball was better the second time he came out there."
Maybe it was the Skittles.
Lexington Christian 000 100 0— 1 5 2
Tates Creek 033 310 x—10 10 1
Ben Cooper, Taylor Blair (3), Evan Grant (5) and Chad Hall. Nick Richmond and Nathan Black. 2B--Aaron Johnson (LCA), Austin Younce (TC), Tanner Hart (TC), Luke Rouse (TC).
Records—LCA 21-16, Tates Creek 22-14